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.