Affordable solar systems firm operating in Tanzania and Rwanda, Off Grid Electric has secured $10 million from Helios Investment Partners and $8 million in debt financing from a lending group led by responsAbility to provide millions in Africa with clean and sustainable solar energy.
Totaling $18 million, this funding will enable Off Grid Electric to continue on the path to solving the energy access problem in Africa.
Last December, the firm raised $45 million in debt financing from the Packard Foundation, Ceniarth, Calvert Foundation among others. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures topped the fund with $5 million. Last year October, the firm also raised a $25 million Series Cround led by DBL Partners, SolarCity, Western Technology Investment, Paul Allen, Omidyar Network, Serious Change LP and Vulcan Capital while in 2014 the firm raised $23 million.
If this figures are anything to go by, the total cash raised by Off Grid Electric is way over $111 million since its 2012 launch. These investments are more than just capital – they’re a huge vote of confidence for the solar sector and Africa as a continent ripe with opportunities for growth and innovation.
“Last year Off Grid Electric added more solar homes than the Tanzanian utility company added to the grid,” noted Bill Lenihan, CFO & Head of Business Operations, Off Grid Electric. “Our objective is to bring industry leading partners to our company. Solar City, EDF and others are now joined by Helios and responsAbility. We’re privileged to have their capital support and unmatched continent knowledge, relationships and operating expertise. We are now stronger and able to further our mission and expand our reach.”
As you read this, Off Grid Electric’s line of solar appliances for rural entrepreneurs, announced last month at President Obama’s Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto, California, called Kazi na Zola (“Work with Zola” in Swahili), the “business in a box” are being distributed to entrepreneurs in Rwanda and Tanzania with the tools they need to run a business — whether a barbershop, charging shop, bar, or restaurant – completely on solar. To date, Off Grid Electric is growing rapidly and services more than 100,000 households and businesses in Tanzania and Rwanda steadily catching up with M-Kopa Solar.
“In Off Grid Electric we see a compelling opportunity for Helios to be at the forefront of developing distributed power alternatives that satisfy the significant unmet power needs of the continent,” said Nairobi based Helios Operating Partner Dennis Aluanga.
Speaking on behalf of responsAbility, Alexander Bashian, Investment Officer Global Climate Partnership Fund, commented: “Our investment’s aim is to mitigate climate change and promote energy access in the developing countries. We believe that Off Grid Electric is a perfect example for how these objectives can be reached through financially viable business models.