Canadian Solar acquires German off-grid specialist


Chinese-Canadian solar module manufacturer Canadian Solar has agreed to invest an unspecified sum in German start-up Solarworx.

The investment was made through a Series A financing round that also saw the participation of Netherlands-based sustainable energy innovation engine EIT InnoEnergy and the German development finance institution Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) subsidiary of German state-owned development lender KfW Group.

Solarworx intends to use the raised capital to expand its product portfolio and sales activities. It currently offers the off-grid photovoltaic solution Solego, which comes with a battery storage system with a capacity of 80 or 160 watt-hours.

The Berlin-based start-up wants to achieve its overarching goal of providing a secure supply of solar power to around 1.2 billion people worldwide without access to the power grid. The off-grid solutions are compatible with all important “pay-as-you-go” payment platforms.

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Solarworx sees additional market potential in its direct-current network solution MESH, which is a hardware-independent system that is claimed to be able to distribute solar power to between two and 100 households and small and medium-sized companies. The plan is to launch the product in a pre-commercial stage in the second quarter of the year.

“In Africa, everything is defined by price,” said Solarworx founder Felix Boldt. “Our solution cuts out the need for technicians and can be customized to accommodate individual power demands and available budgets.”

The current core markets for the company are Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria. Canadian Solar's strong network in Africa, consisting of suppliers, sales channels and logistics, is expected to help Solarworx to further reduce its costs.

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