MicroEnergy Credits, first highlighted long ago on our Portfolio page for its social impact and innovations in bringing solar lighting and cooking to the poor through sales of carbon offsets, has several new achievements. Most significantly, MEC has received an investment challenge from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in the form of a $10 million loan which should greatly expand MEC’s ability to reach poor households in Africa and Asia. In order to access the loan, MEC needs to raise a significant amount of equity capital in the coming months. More information on the OPIC loan, which was announced at the World Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa, can be found in this press release.
The MEC business model links very low-income microfinance borrowers with carbon markets in a creative way. Its patent application for its credit tracker technology was approved in July 2011. This technology allows field staff on site in developing countries such as India and Mongolia to text installation-specific data, including GPS coordinates, to MEC operations in Seattle. Without that technology, the cost of installing and scaling these transactions would be prohibitive.
MEC’s revenue from carbon offset sales in 2011 exceeded $510,000, slightly more than its projection from a year ago and four times more than those revenues in 2010. Over half a million people now benefit from clean energy products which MEC has installed and financed through sales of carbon offsets. These successes are propelling MEC out of the ranks of the social enterprise start-up company.