Thunderbird MBA students work to widen reach of clean energy in India and Indonesia

February 18, 2013

Solar panel-driven Wi-Fi hot spots, low-cost biofuel and mobile renewable energy stores are all innovative and sustainable products that could bring positive change to underserved communities in India and Indonesia. Thunderbird School of Global Management has deployed MBA consulting teams to those countries to deliver marketing and training plans that will help increase access to these and other clean energy products.

These student consulting projects are part of a capstone course called Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab) that allows students to work full-time for organizations in emerging markets for a period of five weeks. 

TEM Lab has partnered with First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation in order to implement two projects with New Ventures India and New Ventures Indonesia. New Ventures is an international hub of environmental entrepreneurship, providing management training, business advisory services and access to capital and markets to environmentally focused small-to-medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets. 

In Indonesia, four Thunderbird students are analyzing the market for three selected products that increase clean energy access: a smart battery hub that features a deep-cycle battery with a dedicated solar panel and Wi-Fi hot-spot capability; biofuel pellets made from clean-burning biomass that can replace costly and dirty wood and charcoal fuels; and, a mobile renewable energy store concept. Project deliverables include detailed marketing and scale-up plans that will help attract international capital to the clean energy businesses. 

In India, three Thunderbird students will deliver a case study of the best practices needed to supplement distribution strategies of clean energy products for India’s underserved communities. Several large and medium companies have developed innovative practices to access millions of customers in rural areas where traditional supply chains do not exist. The TEM Lab students will recommend marketing and distribution practices that can apply to the clean energy product category and that are specific to the Indian context.

The students are blogging about their projects while on the ground in these countries. You can follow the blogs at:

Past TEM Lab projects have ranged from working with a Central American government to strengthen national export capacity to helping lemon growers develop sustainable marketing and distribution plans in China. To date, 126 Thunderbird students have participated in the TEM Lab, serving 35 clients in 15 countries, including:  Albania, Angola, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Guatemala, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam.



Virginia Mungovan
Public Relations Specialist
Thunderbird School of Global Management


About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world’s No.1-ranked school of international business with more than 65 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world. Dedicated to preparing students to be global leaders and committed global citizens, Thunderbird was the first graduate business school to adopt a Professional Oath of Honor. Thunderbird’s global network of alumni numbers 40,000 graduates in 147 nations worldwide. The school is sought out by graduate students, working professionals and companies seeking to gain the skills necessary for success in today’s global economy. For more information, visit

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module collection and recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit 

About New Ventures

New Ventures is the World Resources Institute’s center for environmental entrepreneurship – providing business development services to environmentally-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets. New Ventures addresses the key barriers to “green” entrepreneurial growth by building in-country support networks for environmental enterprises and increasing their access to finance. For more information, please visit and