Sun King solar brand’s parent firm Greenlight Planet has raised $60m in equity and debt led by London-based private equity fund manager Apis Partners with participation from existing shareholders Eight Roads Ventures and Bamboo Capital Partners.
Debt investments included new disbursements from the company’s earliest institutional lenders, Deutsche Bank and Global Partnerships, as well as from SunFunder, PG Impact Investments, responsAbility and SIMA Funds.
Greenlight Planet says it will use the new debt and equity capital to expand its solar-energy product lines, distribution networks, and financing capabilities in Africa and Asia. There, over a billion people lack reliable access to electricity, finding it too expensive or unavailable.
According to Patrick Walsh, Co-Founder & CEO of Greenlight Planet, “Today, for less than the cost of a single electrical pole, we can provide a solar home system with enough energy to power a complete range of appliances needed by rural consumers. Apis’s investment will allow us to continue rapidly expanding access to these life-changing products.”
Greenlight Planet operates a direct-to-consumer, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar product distribution business and has over 2,400 company-managed sales agents in five countries, selling more than 25,000 solar products to off-grid consumers each month. The firm uses mobile money systems to allow customers pay for their solar energy products over time, for as little as 25 cents per day.
Greenlight’s line of Sun King™ solar-powered products are used for lighting, home energy systems, phone chargers, radios, fans, and soon-to-be-released televisions. The company began selling affordable solar home systems just three years ago, and has sold nearly 600,000 to date, now at a rate of over 1,000 solar home systems per day. Greenlight Planet partners with a network of more than 100 distributors, including retailers, NGOs, and over 40 micro-finance institutions, to provide sales and service for off-grid communities in 62 countries.
The funding will also help the firm launch an expanded range of life necessities, from cookstoves to fans, TVs, and more.
“We see a tremendous opportunity to leverage Greenlight Planet’s distribution partners, technology, Sun King brand and platform to offer broader appliance financing to underserved Africa populations,” said Udayan Goyal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis. “Greenlight Planet’s PAYG system offers a financing product embedded within the sale of a much-demanded physical product, and we think this context-based approach to financial services will drive widespread financial inclusion in growth markets.”