Since 2017, Zonful has sold and installed over 5,000 solar home systems in Zimbabwe and plans to reach 25,000 customers (impacting the livelihoods of 125,000 people) by the end of 2018. With Persistent’s investment, Zonful has been able to unlock a matching AECF grant and begin a major expansion.
According to Persistent Partner Rodrigo Weiss, “We are very excited to support William Ponela (Zonful CEO) and the Zonful team in creating the leading off-grid energy business in Zimbabwe. We are impressed with their hard work and achievements. We believe Zimbabwe is on the verge of tremendous growth. Persistent is pleased to be able to jump in as one of the earliest new investors in Zimbabwe to catalyze one of the most promising companies we have seen.”
The partnership between Zonful and Persistent includes Persistent’s technical and advisory support in finance, financial management and IT. Persistent’s partner company, Catalyst, is working with Zonful to build its IT infrastructure to support the company’s ambitious growth plans.
Zonful Energy was launched in 2014 by founder William Ponela secured a $4 million soft loan from Kiva International to roll out cheap solar lighting systems to rural communities to meet the growing demand for clean energy. The off-grid solar industry is one of the fastest-growing in Africa. The sector has seen more than US$360 million in investments across the continent in the past five years and continues to grow rapidly due to a drop in component and storage prices. Furthermore, the atmosphere in Zimbabwe is positive and Zimbabweans are looking forward to an upward economic trend.
Zonful CEO William Ponela said, “Persistent has already proven to be a great partner to us. They moved quickly and methodically to bring fresh capital and immediately were on the ground in Zimbabwe helping us build our business. We are excited about continuing to grow with their collaboration.”