Solar home systems and other solar-powered appliances made affordable through innovative pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) financing have the power to jointly address the challenges of energy access and financial inclusion for the more than 1 billion people — mostly rural and low-income — who remain off-grid.
PAYGo solar is a nascent industry of young companies with evolving business models. While exciting, this dynamism presents challenges for investors, and many of these companies are having trouble raising debt financing at suitable terms to fuel their growth. Now that multiple players have begun to coalesce around similar models, it is time for the industry to adopt common reporting standards and greater transparency to aid current and potential investors.
The PAYGo Performance, Reporting, and Measurement (PERFORM) initiative comprises investors (private and debt investors, local and international banks, and development finance institutions), PAYGo executives, and experts in energy and financial inclusion from around the world. Together, we are working to develop a reporting framework and set of key performance indicators for the PAYGo solar industry, building on previous work to this end by Lighting Global and GOGLA.
The PAYGo PERFORM initiative is an open, transparent industry process that seeks the active involvement of stakeholders. It is led by Lighting Global, the World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable off-grid solar markets; GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry; and CGAP, a think tank housed at the World Bank that is working to empower poor people through financial services.
In the last year, two key documents have emerged from the PAYGo PERFORM initiative:
- PAYGo KPIs: The technical guide, offers the PAYGo solar industry a standardized set of key performance indicators (KPIs). By adopting these KPIs, companies can track, benchmark, and improve performance while presenting a more accessible profile to investors, stimulating the capital investment needed for the sector to reach millions more households.
- PAYGo Accounting Brief: The proliferation of accounting practices across PAYGo firms emerged as an important topic during the PAYGo PERFORM initiative–the different practices used could produce substantial impacts on the calculation of the PERFORM key performance indicators (KPIs), and in turn make comparison of the KPIs across companies more difficult. To help address this we produced a review of accounting practices in the PAYGo sector, with the goal of increasing awareness and transparency of the different accounting treatments used in PAYGo firms and their impact on financial reporting.