Husk Summary

Husk is one of the world's leading off-grid utilities, providing reliable power to rural communities and businesses. They design, install and operate small-scale power plants that convert solar energy or agricultural waste into affordable electricity for people in rural India and East Africa.

A third of the world’s 1.4 billion energy poor – 400 million people – live in India. 

In 2008 Shell Foundation formed a long-term partnership with Husk (formerly Husk Power Systems) – an innovative start-up based in Bihar in northwest India (a state of 90 million people where 80% live without reliable power).

Husk's founders, Gyanesh Pandey, Manoj Sinha, Ratnesh Yadav and Charles Ransler, had developed a gasification technology that could generate electricity from agricultural waste such as rice husk, mustard seeds or corn cob.

Together with Shell Foundation, Husk sought to explore the potential to create a new local renewable power source that could provide cheaper, more reliable and better quality energy to low-income households in rural India.

Business Model

Husk's solution provides 30% cheaper energy to their customers compared to alternatives

Husk developed a new gasification technology that converts agricultural waste (abundant resources in rural areas) into electricity, which is then distributed to rural households and small businesses via a secure mini-grid system. This provided customers, for the first time in their lives, with access to reliable and affordable electricity on a pay-as-you-go basis.  In the first five years, Husk reached 10,000 customers using this technology.

Based on their understanding of rural customers' aspirations, Husk developed their solution further to provide customers with 24 hour power, allowing people to work, live and study any time of day.

  At the end of 2015, Husk launched a solar-biomass hybrid plant. By using solar energy to generate power in the day and biomass at night, Husk is providing low-cost power 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This has given low-income consumers and businesses the opportunity to power other items such as fridges, TVs and industrial machinery. When compared to alternatives, Husk's solution provides 30% cheaper energy to their customers and a cost-effective solution that can be part of achieving national electrification targets.  

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