By Baraka Jefwa
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s U.S. Global Development Lab today announced $5 million in follow-on funding to Off Grid Electric. The award, funded through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, will allow Off Grid Electric to test its model at scale and catalyze additional investments to reach more than one million households.
In Tanzania, approximately 40 million people lack access to electricity. Off Grid Electric currently provides affordable, reliable light and energy services to 10,000 new households per month to families faced with an expensive grid, an unreliable grid, or no grid access at all. Off Grid Electric borrows from the telecom industry’s business model: rather than purchasing costly solar systems, customers pre-pay for electrical services using “mobile money” and are able to access small-scale, radically efficient solar home systems with integrated appliances.
Building on its DIV grants, Off Grid Electric received $25 million in equity from SolarCity and DBL Investors, and an additional $40 million in debt from the Packard Foundation, Calvert Foundation, Cenairth, and other family offices.
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