Expanding energy access in Africa

In partnership with leading investors, Norfund has made a joint commitment of US $90 million to Greenlight Planet Inc., the largest provider of solar-powered home energy products in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Greenlight Planet’s Sun King products offers clean, renewable and reliable energy to sixty million individuals across 65 countries. This new funding will enable Greenlight Planet to further expand its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solar home systems business in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria.

Bringing affordable, clean energy to those in need

To date, the company has delivered more than 1.3 million PAYG solar products in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria. And the demand is increasing – the deliveries have been expanding at a rate of over 65,000 new rooftop solar installations per month. 

Greenlight Planet’s goal is to bring affordable, clean energy to every under-electrified household that needs it. We are expanding access to consumer financing, making basic solar power available to all people, at a cost as low as $0.15 per day.

T. Patrick Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Greenlight Planet

After a decade of honing our solar technology and our solar distribution, installation, and service strategy, we are now jumping the last hurdle to solve this global challenge, that being financial inclusion, says CEO and co-founder T.Patrick Walsh.

Increased demand during Covid-19

The products – which include various essential home appliances and the solar panels and batteries to power them – are especially needed as customers spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sun King products have saved over US $3.4 billion on fossil-fuel-based energy costs, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 14 million metric tons.

As the company is expanding access to consumer financing, it makes basic solar power available to all people, at a cost as low as $0.15 per day. The company’s PAYG distribution network employs up to 7,000 staff across the world, 30% of whom are women employed in areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where unemployment levels are high.

The company has delivered consistent profitability over the last four years and generated its first $100 million in revenue in 2019.

Norfund’s contribution

Norfund’s $10,75 million loan will help to boost access to affordable and reliable energy to small businesses and off-grid families. This will among others contribute to increased productivity for the businesses and provide children the means to studying longer. As a result, the commitment will contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); Climate Action (13); and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).

Increased access to electricity improves the lives of people living in rural or poor areas. As an active investor, Norfund is looking forward to supporting Greenlight Planet in bringing affordable solar energy to under-electrified households in sub-Saharan Africa

Bjørnar Baugerud, Vice President – Norfund Clean Energy

Norfund is invested in Greenlight Planet, alongside our British and Dutch sister organisations CDC group and FMO, in addition to impact investors ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships, and private equity firm ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund. Of the total $90 million in committed funding, $69 million has been disbursed to the company, with the balance to be drawn down as the company delivers additional solar-powered home energy systems, with end-consumer financing, to homes in Africa.

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