Adoption of Digital Payments in the Off-Grid Renewable Energy Sector

KfW in collaboration with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and PwC India, organised a 1-day workshop on the “Adoption of Digital Payments in Off-grid enewable Energy Sector” on 20 August. The workshop was organised as part of KfW-IREDA “Access to Energy” (A2E) line of credit which focuses on improving the supply and use of sustainable clean energy services in rural areas through improved access to financing for project developers. Being the first of its kind, through incentives the line has attracted attention from different categories of players such as honed private sector Companies, start-ups in the sector, NBFCs, MFIs, and more for a veteran or new technology solutions and services to be implemented in the rural areas.

The workshop was organised for off-grid renewable energy sector organizations active in India and was attended by 30+ participants. The workshop provided hands-on training to IREDA’s potential and existing sub-borrowers on the advantages and disadvantages of adopting digital payment platforms for payment collection from the customers and how such companies can integrate digital payment collection into their existing business operations. The workshop was delivered by Mr. Vineet Bhatia, Associate Director at PwC India – Clean Energy Practice.

Topics covered during the workshop:

  • Overview of cash as an energy payment mechanism
  • Analysis of digital payment ecosystem in India
  • Business Model Segmentation for adoption of digital payments in access to energy sector in India
  • Enhancing the up-take of digital payments in India
  • Threats and vulnerabilities in using digital payments
  • Indian CII Protection Framework
  • Managing cybersecurity challenges in India
  • Panel Discussion 

The first session focused on summarizing the digital payment landscape globally and in India, as well as discussing the key barriers to expanding energy access to the rural population that the spread of digital payments could support in overcoming. The session also centred around the business model segmentation for the adoption of digital payments with the discussion elaborating on the most common variables found in digital transactions with an end-user, as well as on implications on the overall business model for a company.

The second session of the workshop focused on the cyber-security challenges that digital payments present. The analysis offered a snapshot of some important trends and incidents and how those could be mitigated. This session also included a conversation about the critical information infrastructure (CII) protection framework existing in India.

A special panel discussion was also organised as part of the workshop. The panelists for the discussion included Mr. Chintan Shah, Director Technical, IREDA, Mr. Naveen Garg, Global CFO, Husk Power, Mr. Piyush Mathur, Chief Business Officer, Odyssey Energy Solutions, Inc. and Director, CLEAN and Mr. Ravi Pittie, Founder and CEO of KPay Innovation Pvt. Ltd. and Chair of GOGLA’s India Working Group. The key topics of the panel discussion included:

  • Key enablers for digital payments in the Access to Energy market
  • Type of government support is required for digital payment landscape to flourish
  • Steps companies can undertake to ensure a sustainable shift from cash collection to digital payments
  • Synergies that can be drawn from Africa’s experience of digitalization of Pay-as-you-go business model in India