Off Grid Electric (OGE), a leading distributed solar company that operates under the consumer brand Zola in Africa, has secured $ 7.5 million in debt financing from impact investment manager Developing World Markets (DWM). This announcement comes on the heels of a major partnership and expansion into Côte d’Ivoire withEDF, a global leader in low-carbon energies.
The funds from Developing World Markets will be used to expand Zola’s solar home system footprint and scale operations in Rwanda, where the company has been operating since January 2016. Plans are in place to reach 100,000 homes by 2019. A larger suite of products will also be made available. In addition to bright lights, phone charging, radio and 16″ solar TVs, product offerings will now include larger scale systems for homes and small businesses and 24” solar TVs.
“To be backed by an organization like Developing World Markets, which is known for instituting positive economic and social change, aligns with our mission of transforming communities through access to reliable and affordable energy,” said Joshua Pierce, CTO and Co-founder of Off Grid Electric. “With this investment, we’ll be able to expand and reach new goals in Rwanda even more quickly.”
“Developing World Markets is proud to partner with Off Grid Electric in their ground breaking work in sub-Saharan Africa, using market mechanisms and innovative solar technology to provide clean and affordable energy access,” said Peter Johnson, Managing Partner at DWM.
As part of the Government of Rwanda’s Rural Electrification Strategy and Off Grid Electric’s efforts in country, the solar company is teaming up with Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), Rwanda’s national utility company, to provide energy access to hundreds of thousands of rural households across the country. Off Grid Electric is one of a select group of companies participating in the Rural Electrification Strategy – an initiative with the aim of providing affordable, reliable solar energy access to 70% of Rwandan homes by June 2018.
This year alone, Off Grid Electric has raised $ 30 million in funding, including $ 18 million from Helios Investment Partners and responsAbility.