Greenlight Planet secures $90 million to expand solar financing model in Africa
Greenlight Planet Inc., a provider of solar-powered home energy products in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, has secured $90 million in new funding to expand its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solar consumer financing business and consolidate its debt portfolio.
Akira Partners and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe advised Greenlight Planet.
Under its Sun King brand, Greenlight Planet operates the largest direct-to-consumer PAYG solar distribution and service network in the world, having delivered over 1.3 million PAYG solar products to date in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria, expanding at a rate of over 65,000 new rooftop solar installations per month. The company employs 1,250 full-time staff worldwide, and over 5,500 sales agents, 30% of whom are women, across areas of sub-Saharan Africa suffering from high levels of unemployment.
The new debt and equity investments were provided by European development finance institutions CDC Group, FMO, and Norfund, along with 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.
T. Patrick Walsh, Co-founder and CEO of Greenlight Planet said: “Greenlight Planet’s goal is to bring affordable, clean energy to every under-electrified household that needs it. 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. 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. We are delighted to work with CDC, Norfund, FMO, ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships and ARCH to expand access to finance and access to energy.”
Sun King solar products include home lighting, mobile phone chargers, radios, televisions, and fans, as well as the solar panels and batteries to power these appliances. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, such solar-powered home energy systems have proven all the more essential to families spending more time at home. Families depend on Sun King energy access and appliances for light, communication, entertainment, and access to news and information.
Geoffrey Manley, Director and Head of Energy Access and Efficiency at CDC Group said:, “Our financing of Greenlight Planet provides our team with a great opportunity to support a company that is creating jobs and taking meaningful strides to fight climate change. We’re thrilled that our commitment promotes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, helping to facilitate economic development across the African continent.”
Greenlight Planet’s Sun King solar-powered home energy systems have a profound social impact for off-grid families around the world. Sixty million individuals across 65 countries have used them to access clean, renewable energy. This access to energy increases the time children spend studying, increases productivity for small businesses, and reduces spending on old-fashioned energy products. Sun King products have saved over $3.4 billion on fossil-fuel-based energy costs, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 14 million metric tons.
William Barry, Managing Director at ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF) added: “ARCH ARPF is delighted to support Greenlight Planet’s continued growth as it delivers on its mandate to expand energy access across sub-Saharan Africa. Greenlight's global market leadership in the off-grid solar sector positions the company strongly within ARPF’s expanding off-grid renewable energy portfolio, complementing our existing utility-scale, independent-power-producer development pipeline.”