The SDC concept originates from a unique partnership between the World Bank Group and a number of U.S. charitable foundations as a response to the gap between the enormous potential demand for electricity in off-grid markets and the very limited supply to date of off-grid power from photovoltaic (PV) systems – despite PV’s apparent ability to produce reliable and relatively cost-effective power in off-grid applications. The objective of SDC is to increase the delivery of solar home systems (SHS) and thus bring environmentally clean electricity to rural households in developing countries. Specifically, it aims to overcome the key barriers to accelerated growth of PV in the off-grid segment -- including lack of medium-term funding to enable customers to repay the high initial cost of PV systems over time, lack of understanding of PV by conventional financial intermediaries (FIs), and weak capitalization of many indigenous PV companies through the provision of both financing and business advisory services (BAS). SDC has a target capitalization of US$50 million, with approximately $32 million of investment capital devoted to an Investment Fund and $18 million of grant funds devoted to BAS. SDC will: (i) invest in private sector companies involved in rural, commercially sustainable PV activities, including the distribution, sale, lease-hire, or financing of PV solar home systems and other productive use PV systems for electricity generation, and (ii) provide financing to local FIs who will service such companies. The combination of finance and business advisory components is needed in order to overcome persistent market barriers and accelerate the growth of the market.

Project Details

GEF Project ID
Implementing Agencies
The World Bank
International Finance Corporation
Approval FY
Executing Agencies
GEF Period
GEF - 2
Project Type
Full-size Project
Focal Areas
Funding Source
GEF Trust Fund


Co-financing Total
GEF Project Grant


Concept Approved
Project Approved for Implementation
Project Closed
Project Cancelled