Okra Solar, established in 2017, is a start-up that interconnects rural households that have a solar home system through a grid. By establishing a grid-based distribution system among solar home users in a small geographical location, households can draw excess power from their neighbours for productive use. The key innovation is a
devise installed to distribute energy. As a result, households have increased access to electricity and there are opportunities to generate income, as households can now connect small devices (such as refrigerators, freezers, rice cookers, fans, consumer electrics) to electricity and start micro businesses. The company also innovates on such
equipment and recommends purchase of the most suitable units for the solar grid.
Okra Solar has an innovative business model to address the energy needs of the poor. The company has still a very low IB rating in commercial returns (the IB criteria requires a minimum revenue of $0.2 million), reach, and social depth, but a higher rating in innovation and social depth. Okra Solar is too small to be an IB model. However, given its innovative business model, the strong growth potential, and its stark IB strategic intent, the company can be considered a SE initiative.