Off-Grid Electric has raised $25 million in venture capital funding to launch an affordable mobile solar leasing platform in Tanzania.
Meeting the energy needs of the poor
This innovative renewable energy program is targeting households making as little as $1 a day. The solar electricity program uses mobile money – where customers pay with their mobile phones. In a region where few individuals have bank accounts, this concept is frequently used as a method of payment.
To this end, Off Grid Electric is emerging as a leader in the field for using mobile money. This large venture capital funding deal attests to how its is regarded as a distributed energy leader in Africa.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 34% of the population have a financial account, leaving the majority of our potential customers unbanked. By collecting payments via mobile money, we are signing up customers for their first formal financial service and giving them a tangible reason for regular use. Payment history collected through our software accumulates a credit profile for customers, which can help unlock access to other financial services as well. Rural mobile money agent liquidity is also improved by our customers “topping-up” their mobile accounts in frontier areas instead of cashing out. “
Off Grid Electric, based in California and Tanzania, is installing solar in over 10,000 homes and businesses per month with its radically affordable solar leasing platform. The company has signed a partnership with the government of Tanzania to power one million homes in the next three years. Soon it plans to launch its service in Rwanda.
As reported by SolarPowerWorld, the $25 million investment round was led by DBL Partners. The investment in Off Grid Electric is the firm’s first international investment, expanding DBL’s double bottom line 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. “We are building a platform to power millions of homes and businesses in the coming years, and DBL is an incredible partner to help us achieve our vision. They have seen firsthand through their early investment in SolarCity how to build a market leader in solar leasing.”
Admirably, the company reports it is providing “an energy ecosystem that combines the world’s most efficient LED lights and appliances to optimize the energy output from our solar panels.”
Image via Off-Grid Electric