While the average American home spends about 2.7% of their income on energy bills, more than one billion people live without power worldwide. So Microsoft and social media giant Facebook have partnered up to work together and fix this.
Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. have partnered up with venture capitalists at Allotrope Partners in an effort to expand energy access in developing countries. According to Green Tech Media, this partnership is the first of its kind, as the goal is to create a finance facility that will propel and push forward investment capital for these underserved communities.
The partnership will be focusing their efforts on expanding access to energy in areas of East Africa, Indonesia, and India. Known as the Microgrid Investment Accelerator (MIA), they have plans to organize around $50 million between 2018 and 2020 as a means to fund these renewable energy microgrids.
In short, a microgrid is a smaller energy grid that works independently of the country’s national grid. According to the International Energy Agency, around 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity. For perspective, that is one in seven people globally living without power.
One of the huge hurdles for this project is cost and access to funds. Considering that the solar panel size needed to power an average home is 600 square feet, to power large communities would cost a lot in fabrication, transportation, and installing costs.
However, with the help of small start-ups, Microsoft and Facebook are pushing through despite the challenges. They believe that everyone has the right to access power, and are hoping this initiative will help in reaching the 2030 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals that aim for universal access to modern energy services.
Plus, implementing energy in these developing countries has the potential to open up multi-billion dollar markets for both social media opportunities and digital appliances.
So overall, it seems that nothing bad can come from this partnership. Microsoft’s Kevin Connolly explains to Bloomberg,
“The Microgrid Investment Accelerator will not only be a powerful tool in driving much-needed capital into projects, but will also help to bring down costs, build a stronger ecosystem, and catalyze innovation.”