Nithio Invests in Kenya’s SunCulture to Drive Solar Irrigation and Farming Innovations Across Africa  


Nithio, a leading energy finance platform in Africa, has announced an investment in SunCulture, an industry leader in solar irrigation and farming technology solutions. Nithio’s investment, made through its investment vehicle, Nithio FI,  is part of the Productive Use Appliance Financing Facility (PUAFF), which catalyzes the uptake of productive use appliances across Africa. PUAFF is managed by CLASP, an international non-profit organization that improves the energy and environmental performance of appliances and equipment, and Nithio, and supported by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP).

Nithio’s investment is part of a $12m syndicated debt facility led by Mirova Sunfunder and financed through its Solar Energy Transformation Fund), Mirova (through its Gigaton strategy) and Triodos Investment Management, which together will enable SunCulture to finance inventory and receivables for its Kenyan subsidiary across its productive-use renewable energy products, related appliances and  irrigation equipment. This will allow SunCulture to reach more customers, especially smallholder farmers who need affordable and reliable access to energy and water for their livelihoods.

Kate Steel, Nithio CEO, said: “We are delighted to partner with SunCulture, a pioneer and innovator in the solar irrigation and farming technology sector. SunCulture’s products have a proven impact on increasing agricultural productivity, income, and resilience for smallholder farmers. Through our investment, we aim to support SunCulture’s growth and scale, and contribute to the broader mission of GEAPP  to accelerate the adoption of productive use appliances in Africa.”

SunCulture was founded in 2012 to help solve the daily challenges that smallholder farmers endure including time-consuming manual irrigation or reliance on the increasingly unpredictable rains for their crops. Since then, they have designed, manufactured, financed, and serviced IoT-enabled solar energy systems and irrigation equipment for smallholder farmers allowing farmers to spend less while growing more. This has led to SunCulture being able to: Offer both cash sales and Pay-As-You-Grow financing through their direct sales channels and distributors; sell over 45,000+ units to date; offer VeraSol tested non-battery and battery equipped solar irrigation systems; and expand into new sales regions through direct international market entrance, joint ventures, and government partnerships.

Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture CEO, said: “Through this support, SunCulture is  primed to deepen its footprint within Kenya, responding to the urgent calls for food security, poverty alleviation, and climate resilience. This partnership empowers SunCulture to place game-changing tools in the hands of vulnerable smallholder farmers, supporting climate mitigation and adaptation at the individual, community, and national levels. SunCulture is pleased to partner with Nithio as we continue to pursue the highest standards in credit risk assessment and consumer credit management, which are key enablers of SunCulture’s overall objectives.”

PUAFF’s mission is to increase access to high-quality productive use appliances that enhance the economic opportunities and well-being of off- and weak-grid consumers. The facility offers procurement subsidies, capacity building grants, distributor debt financing, and advisory support focused on credit systems development for Productive Use Appliance (PUA) companies and distributors. PUAs eligible in the facility include energy-efficient, income-generating appliances such as refrigerators, solar water pumps, agro-processing equipment, sewing machines, etc. The recent recognition of 18 companies through procurement subsidies and capacity-building grants in East, West, and Central Africa highlights PUAFF’s commitment to catalyzing positive change. PUAFF’s financing will reduce the cost of appliances for end-users by offering discounts on bulk solar appliance purchases and providing financing to distributors, allowing them to offer products on credit.

Makena Ireri, Director of Demand, Jobs, and Livelihoods at GEAPP, states, “the initiative aligns with our mission of promoting sustainable energy solutions that will avert future carbon emissions, while enabling increased access to clean energy and improving livelihoods through economic growth. By lowering the cost of high quality, energy efficient appliances and providing financing, we’re enabling jobs and livelihoods for thousands of people supporting a low-carbon future.”

Nithio’s investment in SunCulture marks a significant stride towards transforming the landscape of solar irrigation and farming technology in Africa. Supported by GEAPP, this collaboration will drive innovation, sustainability, and prosperity across the region.