SunFarmer to Build Nepal Projects With SunEdison Grant

SunFarmer, a developer of solar power in impoverished and rural areas, will build its first projects with backing from SunEdison Inc. for systems in Nepal.

SunFarmer, based in New York, will use a $2 million grant from a SunEdison foundation to build five projects at clinics and hospitals in the first quarter under an agreement with the Nepali government, co-founder Andy Moon said today in a phone interview.

“Customers are heavily reliant on diesel and costs can run as much as 10 to 15 times as much as here in the U.S.,” said Moon. One hospital in rural Nepal spends about $30,000 a year on diesel fuel for a generator and maintenance, he said.

Under the nonprofit’s rent-to-own model, customers will save 10 percent to 15 percent on electricity costs and will typically end up owning the solar systems in six to eight years, he said.

SunFarmer is seeking donations to fund as many as 100 solar projects over the next 2 years that will benefit more than 400,000 people. Moon and co-founder Jason Gray previously worked in project development at SunEdison.

“Our vision is definitely global, but we are starting in Nepal,” said Moon. “In 12 to 18 months from now, we’ll be starting to look at other markets.”

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