WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

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Register now for the next WISIONS Webinar on 3rd July!

News from WISIONS posted on June 21st, 2019

WISIONS will hold a new WEBINAR on the topic "Energy for Water from “Sun & Co” - Renewable Energy Innovations for Irrigation " on 3rd July 3:00 P.M. CET. Register now!Read moreMinimize

Innovation based on decentralized renewable energy can help tackle crucial technical challenges faced by family and small-scale farmers worldwide. Decentralized renewable energy enables the supply of energy directly where it is needed and deploys locally available energy resources. For these innovations the focus shifts from solely supplying energy to its application for the function required; e.g. pumping water, treating organic residues or processing produce.

In this WISIONS webinar we will learn how energy practitioners are advancing innovations based on renewable energy to improve water availability for family and small-scale farmers. While the general idea is simple (local energy supply enables water pumping, which in turn facilitates/improves irrigation options), a number of aspects should be considered: 

  • What strategies ensure that small-scale farmers can access the relevant technology, services and maintenance? 
  • How can improved water supply effectively translate into improved livelihoods and increased revenues? 
  • What options ensure that increasing the pumping capacity does not lead to greater depletion of water resources? 

With our speakers we will explore these and other crucial aspects for advancing renewable energy-based irrigation that effectively supports farming families’ livelihoods.

Lucie Pia Pluschke, GIZ Germany, Powering Agriculture

Upendra Shrestha, Practical Action Nepal 

Jorge Ayarza, MinVayu and Wind Empowerment 

Willington Ortiz or Carmen Dienst, WISIONS, Wuppertal Institute


Jessica Rivas, WindAid Institute and Wind Empowerment

Register now and mark the date and time on your calendar: 15:00 CET on 3rd July 2019! 

Progress Report: Knowledge Exchange for Making Solar Water Pumping (SWP) System Affordable to Small Farmers

News from WISIONS posted on June 19th, 2019

WINROCK International, our cooperation partner is currently implementing solar water pumping (SWP) projects in Nepal and makes it affordable for small farmers. After the completion of workshops and knowledge exchanges in February 2019, they hosted now Orientation and Demonstration Programs for farmers. Read more about the progress here: Read moreMinimize

All in all, there have been eight orientation and demonstration programs on SWP technology for small farmers between February and March 2019. With mostly appreciated support by the Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood Programme the programs could take place from 23-26 February 2019 and 26-29 March 2019. 


The main objective was to promote SWP systems and raise awareness to rural farmers and showcasing the practical as well as affordable nature of the technology. With an impressing number of 406 participants consisting of farmers and representatives of two eight cooperatives, farmers affiliated to a local development bank, municipality representatives, SWP supplier representatives and Winrock staff. 


The programs had the following agenda: 


1.    Opening Session:Introduction to the topic by representatives of Nepal Agricultural Co-operative Central Federation Ltd. (NACCFL) and Winrock. 


2.    Orientation Session:Sharing by Winrock of the Knowledge Exchange Project and explaining the technology with all its characteristics and financial analysis. The promotion of SWP systems and showing the advantages against conventional electric and diesel pumps was the main goal of the session in order to encourage farmers implementing the technology and increasing their productivity. Audio-visual materials were presented to the farmers as well and questions raised concerning governmental subsidies as well as from technical perspectives have been answered. 


3.  Demonstration Session: Four different SWP products were presented in a field visit to the participants and demonstrated in operation at a near river. Technicians and Engineers explained the product and answered questions from the participants about the working principle, application and business model for installing SWP systems. 

Further, the implementation of several networks among municipalities, Small Farmer Agricultural Cooperative Limited (SFACL), farmers and SWP suppliers was on account of Winrocks effort. Multiple numbers of network events took place between November 2018 and March 2019, where each stated stakeholder had the opportunity to learn from each other, exchanging contacts and knowledge on SWP technology, with prospect on implementation and its benefits. 

Find out more about the project here: Exchange: Knowledge Exchange to Make Solar Water Pumping (SWP) Systems Affordable for Small Farmers (SEPS16)

Upcoming Webinar "Mini-Grid Financing: Enabling the Role of Local Banks"

News from WISIONS posted on June 19th, 2019

On 28th of June our partner HPNET will hold a webinar on the topic "Mini-Grid Financing: Enabling the Role of Local Banks" from 3:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. CEST.Register now!Read moreMinimize

This Webinar will feature banks and financing specialists from South and Southeast Asia who are enabling local banks in the region to make financing available for small-scale hydro mini-grids. Renewable energy mini-grids are a proven and cost-effective solution for sustainable energy access.  To date, scaled replication of mini-grids has largely depended on international development aid, most commonly as concessionary loans or grants to national government, which are then distributed as grants or subsidies to beneficiary communities.  However, in the case of hydro mini-grids access to creditcan plays a significant role in accelerating mini-grid implementation. 

Where resources exist, small-scale hydropower produces the lowest cost energy.  Its techno-economic characteristics(e.g. lower levelized cost of energy, per kilowatt investment cost, and no need for energy storage) allow for economic viability with high social impact, including affordable tariffs, extensive productive end use, and viable grid interconnection. Because its hardware can be manufactured locally and maintained by local actors, micro and mini hydropower development imparts local skills, jobs and enterprise development. It also strengthens catchment areas and watershed protection, which in turn increases climate resilience and integrated development of rural communities.

While these financial viability and socio-economic impact aspects of hydro mini-grids make them conducive to soft loans, impact investment and other types of debt/equity, access to financings a severe challenge for local, small-scale hydro practitioners across the global south.  International financiers find it difficult to lend to projects located in very remote areas, which is often the case with local micro and mini hydropower. Therefore, local practitioners increasingly seek financing from local banks and other local financiers, who tend to be more accessible to local practitioners and amenable for dialogue that helps to clarify the local context and risks.  Local banks that lend to rural areas can particularly be more open to lending to mini-grids for energy access.

However, in most cases local banks have little or no experience in lending to mini-grids.  They lack basic skills for project appraisal and servicing loans.  In addition, most countries lack banking regulations that would allow the loan tenures required for mini-grid payback periods, e.g. 7-10 years.  Collateral and interest rates are also critical obstacles for enabling local bank financing.  In some cases local banks do not have adequate capital funds for lending.  On the other hand, local developers also need skills building in developing the required documentation and data required to access local bank loans.

In spite of these challenges, experience in South and Southeast Asia shows that local banks can be empowered to play a critical role in accelerating sustainable hydro mini-grids by lending to local practitioners.


This webinar – the 2ndin a series of four webinars –will feature banks and financing specialists from South and Southeast Asia who have enabled local banks and local developers in the region to make financing available for small-scale hydro mini-grids. Using specific examples, speakers will present:


-       Why and how local banks are critical to replication of sustainable hydro mini-grids

-       Incentives for local banks in lending to hydro mini-grids and local developers

-       How local banks can build internal capacity to lend to mini-grids

-       How local developers can develop the necessary skills to access local bank financing

-       How banking regulatory challenges can be overcome

-       Roles of government and donors help to accelerate the process of enabling local bank financing.


Presentations will be followed by a Q/A session open to all participants. 



List of speaker: 


Mr. Dinesh Dulal has completed Master’s Degree in Management and Bachelor’s Degree in Law. He has spent almost 18 years in banking sector, out of which he has spent more than 10 years in renewable energy financing. Currently, he is the Department Head of Energy and Development Organization Department at NMB Bank Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal. He has played an instrumental role in renewable energy financing including micro hydro project financing. 



Mr Kapila Subasinghe is Vice President (Specialized Project Lending)/Head of Consulting, DFCC Bank and former Project Director of the World Bank and Global Environment Facility funded Renewable Energy for Rural Economic Development (RERED) Project of the Government of Sri Lanka. Mr Subasinghe has 25 years of experience in project management and lending. At DFCC Bank he has served both in SME and Corporate sectors, specializing in project financing including lending to off-grid and grid-connected renewable energy sectors. Further he has served in the Project Management Department managing national level credit lines to Sri Lanka from multilateral agencies. At present he serves as Manager, Project Implementation Unit of the ADB funded Rooftop Solar Power Generation Project of the Government of Sri Lanka. He has been a resource person to many local and international renewable energy forums, including for delegations to Sri Lanka from Asia and Africa to study the Sri Lankan renewable energy model. Mr. Subasinghe holds a degree in civil engineering from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and is a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK.




Ms. Margarita Manzo is an energy finance specialist and has a background in both early-stage financing as well as corporate and project finance for utility scale projects in Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Sri Lanka. Having worked at an impact fund, an investment bank, a large developer, and a start-up, she has seen the various issues companies and projects face to get funded. She is driven by a passion for getting projects off the ground and would like to see great startups focus less on fundraising and focus more on execution. She is currently developing a data-driven platform to connect investment-ready early stage energy companies with potential funders.  Margarita was most recently the Senior Investment Manager at Nexus for Development, where she managed Nexus’s portfolio of funds dedicated to supporting Asian energy, water, and sanitation enterprises serving underserved populations. She continues to serves as a consultant to the Nexus team. Margarita holds an MBA degree and an Energy & Finance Certificate from HEC Paris and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University.





Ranisha has more than 5 years of experience in knowledge management in the off-grid sector. She has worked with many national and international organizations to develop different knowledge products (webinars, database and knowledge portals) and also designed campaigns to raise awareness about the trending off-grid energy topics. Currently, she is writing her master thesis on “ Gender and Renewable Energy Mini Grids” and is attending the master program, Renewable Energy Engineering and Management at the University of Freiburg, Germany.




Dipti Vaghela is the co-founder and manager of the Hydro Empowerment Network (HPNET), a south-south knowledge exchange platform that advances policy, technology, and socio-environmental aspects of small-scale hydropower across ten countries since established in 2013. Dipti brings sixteen years of experience in developing decentralized renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in S/SE Asia, bridging communities, local entrepreneurs, field-based NGOs, policy makers, and funding agencies. After a product design career in Silicon Valley, she spent ten years with indigenous communities in rural India, mostly in Kalahandi, Odisha, establishing localized energy solutions. In 2013, supported by the Switzer Foundation Environmental Leadership Grant, Dipti served as International Rivers' energy solutions coordinator to promote policy solutions that support equitable energy development. In 2016 she was awarded a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship, placed at the Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar (REAM). Based in Myanmar, she supports and learns from Myanmar’s indigenous micro/mini hydropower, biomass energy, PV-irrigation practitioners. Dipti holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University.

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