TechMoran announced that Gridworks will invest over US$300 million to improve transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity infrastructure in Africa and Mettle’s $7.5m is part of that fund.
Mettle will use the investment to expand across Africa and help reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate the commercial viability of solar power for businesses in Africa, a continent where 70 per cent of total energy demand is from commercial and industrial customers.
According to Simon Hodson, CEO of Gridworks, “I’m delighted that Gridworks is able to make this investment and support a very capable management team in its expansion plans. With many countries in sub-Saharan Africa experiencing regular electricity shortages there’s a clear need for a reliable power supply to business. Our investment will help Mettle bring clean, reliable power to businesses in new African markets where power is often unreliable and leaves a greater carbon footprint.
Mettle has 29 projects (15.4MW) in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya & Indian Ocean islands and has a further 12MW currently under construction. The firm also plans to expand its footprint to other markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria and Madagascar.
This investment will support CDC’s Climate Strategy and contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 13, which aim to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all, as well as combat climate change, by supporting and increasing the proportion of renewable energy in African countries. Less than 2% of total installed capacity in Africa currently comes from solar.
By providing cheaper, reliable and cleaner energy to businesses Mettle will help to reduce dependence on diesel generators and is a pioneer in the use of battery storage for business users in Africa. Solar Storage offers the potential to completely displace diesel consumption in off-grid sites as these systems are now competitive when compared to fuel powered generators.
Gridworks, backed by UK’s CDC Group aims to invest over $300m of long-term capital in African electricity infrastructure and its investment in Mettle Solar is an important milestone in that journey. Mettle also owns a 50% shareholding in Sustainable Power Solutions, a top solar engineering firms specialising in the construction and operation of solar photovoltaic systems is Sub-Saharan Africa.
In a statement, Francois Verloren van Themaat, CEO of Mettle Solar Investments said: “We are very excited to have CDC through Gridworks, as a major investor in our business. This investment will allow Mettle to offer its renewable energy products to clients in additional jurisdictions across the African continent and will give a big boost to our ongoing efforts to make renewable energy more accessible and affordable to everyone.”
“Enabling safe, stable, affordable and sustainable energy to commercial and industrial users is a key part of the CDC infrastructure investment strategy. We are excited that Gridworks is partnering with a business supported to date by a respected shareholder group who have built a strong team with the relevant expertise to further grow the business in some of CDC’s priority countries.,” said Chris Chijiutomi, Head of Infrastructure Equity at CDC Group. “Access to reliable power is a key barrier to economic development, we believe this investment will be one of many through Gridworks in the power distribution sector.”
The transaction is subject to a number of regulatory approvals.