Off-grid solar has found itself an extremely exciting market in Sub Sahara Africa, where U.S. company Off Grid Electric has been taking advantage of excellent opportunities and has been expanding its reach across the continent. This has led to an increase in investment for the company and to a number of exciting partnerships, which have seen it become one of the front runners of off-grid solar solutions in various African countries.
The most recent financing has come from impact investment manager Developing World Markets (DWM), who has committed $7.5 million in debt financing to Off Grid Electric. These funds will be used to expand the solar home system footprint of the company’s consumer brand Zola, with a target of reaching 100,000 homes by 2019.
“To be backed by an organization like Developing World Markets, which is known for instituting positive economic and social change, aligns with our mission of transforming communities through access to reliable and affordable energy,” commented Joshua Pierce, Co-founder and CTO of Off Grid Electric. “With this investment, we’ll be able to expand and reach new goals in Rwanda even more quickly.”
With this new investment, which was completed at the end of 2016, the company raised a total of $30 million in funding last year. In an exclusive interview with pv magazine at the end of 2016, Off Grid Electric CEO Xavier Helgesen discussed the company’s goal of bringing solar power systems to three million West Africans, and gave details of an exciting new partnership that the company has signed with EDF for an expansion into the Ivory Coast.
In addition to the funding from DWM, the company also announced a partnership with Energy Development Corporation Limited, Rwanda’s national utility company, to provide energy access to rural households across Rwanda, as part of the Government of Rwanda’s Rural Electrification Strategy. Off Grid Electric has been active in the country since January 2016, so if well placed to implement such strategies.