Greenlight Planet, operating the Sun King brand with over 1.3 million products sold in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, and South Asia, has secured $90 million in new funding to expand its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solar consumer financing business across its markets.
The new debt and equity investments were provided by European development finance institutions CDC Group, FMO, and Norfund, along with impact investors ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships, and private equity firm ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund.
According to T. Patrick Walsh, Co-founder and CEO of Greenlight Planet, “We are expanding access to consumer financing, making basic solar power available to all people, at a cost as low as $0.15 per day. We are delighted to work with CDC, Norfund, FMO, ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships and ARCH to expand access to finance and access to energy.”
Greenlight Planet says sixty million individuals across 65 countries have used Sun King solar-powered home energy systems to access clean, renewable energy. The firm says Sun King products have saved over $3.4 billion on fossil-fuel-based energy costs, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 14 million metric tons.
“Greenlight Planet’s goal is to bring affordable, clean energy to every under-electrified household that needs it. After a decade of honing our solar technology and our solar distribution, installation, and service strategy, we are now jumping the last hurdle to solve this global challenge, that being financial inclusion,” added Walsh.
Sun King solar products include home lighting, mobile phone chargers, radios, televisions, and fans, as well as the solar panels and batteries to power these appliances.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, such solar-powered home energy systems have proven all the more essential to families spending more time at home. Families depend on Sun King energy access and appliances for light, communication, entertainment, and access to news and information.
Geoffrey Manley, Director and Head of Energy Access and Efficiency at CDC Group added, “Our financing of Greenlight Planet provides our team with a great opportunity to support a company that is creating jobs and taking meaningful strides to fight climate change. We’re thrilled that our commitment promotes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, helping to facilitate economic development across the African continent.”
Under its Sun King brand, Greenlight Planet operates the largest direct-to-consumer PAYG solar distribution and service network in the world, having delivered over 1.3 million PAYG solar products to date in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria, expanding at a rate of over 65,000 new rooftop solar installations per month.
“ARCH ARPF is delighted to support Greenlight Planet’s continued growth as it delivers on its mandate to expand energy access across sub-Saharan Africa. Greenlight’s global market leadership in the off-grid solar sector positions the company strongly within ARPF’s expanding off-grid renewable energy portfolio, complementing our existing utility-scale, independent-power-producer development pipeline,” William Barry, Managing Director at ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF) added.
The company employs 1,250 full-time staff worldwide, and over 5,500 sales agents, 30% of whom are women, across areas of sub-Saharan Africa suffering from high levels of unemployment.
Of the total $90 million in committed funding, $69 million has been disbursed to the company, with the balance to be drawn down as the company delivers additional solar-powered home energy systems in Africa.
Three years ago, the firm 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.