Off Grid Electric Raises $25M to Help Power a ‘Solar Revolution’ in Africa

PennEnergy
October 22, 2015

Octo­ber 22, 2015
DBL Part­ners, the same ven­ture cap­i­tal fund that sup­ported SolarCity for many years, has led the largest ven­ture cap­i­tal fund­ing for dis­trib­uted energy in Africa. Off Grid Elec­tric announced today that it raised $25 mil­lion in a Series C investment.

Off Grid Elec­tric, based in Cal­i­for­nia and Tan­za­nia, is installing solar in over 10,000 homes and busi­nesses per month with what it calls “its rad­i­cally afford­able solar leas­ing plat­form.” The com­pany designs, man­u­fac­tures, sells, installs and ser­vices solar home units in Tan­za­nia and is announc­ing today that it will be enter­ing Rwanda. The agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment of Tan­za­nia tar­gets one mil­lion home solar instal­la­tions in the next three years.

Off Grid Elec­tric con­ducts door-​​to-​​door sales through a team that trav­els to rural parts of East Africa. The prod­uct includes more than just solar; also pro­vid­ing cus­tomers with effi­cient appli­ances such LED lights, radio and TVs.

The com­pany builds soft­ware to effi­ciently deploy instal­la­tion and ser­vice teams to cus­tomers. It pro­vides ser­vice for the life of the prod­uct, which the cus­tomer owns out­right after ten years. Monthly pay­ments are equal to or less than the price the cus­tomer already pays to charge a phone or buy kerosene. Pay­ments are col­lected through mobile banking.

DBL Part­ners Founder and Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Nancy Pfund, will serve as Chair­woman of the Board. Pfund has been a long­time investor in and board mem­ber of SolarCity. The invest­ment in Off Grid Elec­tric is the firm’s first inter­na­tional invest­ment, expand­ing DBL’s invest­ment approach overseas.

We are in the midst of a solar rev­o­lu­tion in Africa. The suc­cess of our pre-​​paid leas­ing model in Tan­za­nia has global impli­ca­tions and demon­strates that uni­ver­sal energy access is achiev­able,” said Xavier Helge­sen, co-​​founder and CEO of Off Grid Electric.

Off Grid Electric’s social and envi­ron­men­tal mis­sion com­bined with the dis­ci­pline and drive inher­ent in its entre­pre­neur­ial cul­ture makes it a per­fect fit for DBL’s ‘dou­ble bot­tom line’ approach to busi­ness and social change,” said Pfund. “As our firm’s first invest­ment in an inter­na­tional busi­ness, we are excited to bring the ben­e­fits of impact invest­ing to peo­ple and fam­i­lies beyond the United States, and feel hon­ored to join the Off Grid Elec­tric team.”

To read the full arti­cle, visit PennEn­ergy.