Member Highlights – November 2015

Off Grid Electric Raises $25M to Help Power a ‘Solar Revolution’ in Africa

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, through which Off Grid Electric has raised $25 million in a Series C investment round. 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.

Angaza raises $4 million to make solar energy affordable to the world’s 1.2 billion off-grid consumers

Angaza Design, a for-profit social enterprise that enables manufacturers and distributors to make clean energy products affordable to the world’s 1.2 billion off-grid consumers, today announced the closing of a $4 million Series A financing. The round was led by a large United States-based family office and included New York-based The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund (TSEF) and others. Angaza’s comprehensive Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) platform makes it possible for consumers in off-grid emerging markets to purchase renewable energy devices over time, in affordable micro-payments. The company has a business-to-business model; manufacturers of clean energy devices select from Angaza’s flexible suite of embedded technologies to make their entire product line PAYG-ready.

Mobisol installs 3MW solar PV and becomes the largest rent-to-own solar energy provider in Africa

Mobisol, the Berlin-based provider of smart solar solutions for lower income households in emerging nations, has to date installed three Megawatts of capacity (3MW) and equipped over 30,000 rural homes and businesses with clean and reliable energy in Tanzania and Rwanda.

Mobisol’s large smart solar solutions power entire households and rural businesses. On average Mobisol solar systems range around 100Wp, allowing them to power a variety of high-quality DC appliances in order to improve people’s quality of life and economic opportunities. This way, Mobisol caters both to the low-income base of the economic pyramid and the increasing energy needs of a growing middle class segment within East Africa. The ability of Mobisol to provide households with their entire electricity needs makes Mobisol Solar Home Systems a perfect substitute to the grid.

Mobisol, East Africa’s largest rent-to-own solar energy provider by capacity installed, had launched its product in the second quarter of 2013 with 1,800 solar systems sold up to October of the same year. A year later in Oct 2014, 9,000 systems had already been sold, and a total of 30,000 by Oct 2015. Mobisol’s steady growth translates into a lasting local impact in terms of social-economic development and environmental protection.

For 2016, Mobisol aims to provide a total of 100,000 households with access to affordable and reliable solar energy. The company is now set to accelerate their scale-up in East Africa while supporting their venture into new markets in Africa and Asia, thereby bringing the overall target until the end of 2020 to approximately 10 million households, which would equate to an estimated market share of 1.6% of potential global market.

Practitioner Network members win UNFCCC 2015 Momentum for Change Awards

The Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activity awards which honor innovative, scalable and replicable climate actions from around the world have been announced. The 16 selected initiatives come from around the world and a variety of sectors, highlighting inspiring mitigation and adaptation activities. The announcement of the 2015 Lighthouse Activities comes as Parties to the UNFCCC prepare to adopt a universal climate change agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015. Practitioner Network members Azuri Technologies, Mobisol and SELF were among the winners.

The importance of incorporating energy access and climate change mitigation to India’s INDC
This recent Huffington Post article by a SELCO Foundation staff member outlines the importance of including energy access goals in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which will be discussed at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris in December. The INDC itself is here.


The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution recently signed an agreement, it’s largest to date in the African off-grid sector, recognizing a $15 million commitment by OPIC to finance Txtlight Power Solutions, Ltd. doing business as Nova-Lumos (Lumos), an off-grid electricity provider, to scale up a business providing solar electricity to homes and small businesses throughout Nigeria.

With this OPIC financing, Lumos will be able to increase power access to the nearly 90 million Nigerians who currently live without connection to the electric grid. The Lumos service includes a home solar panel linked to an indoor storage and connection unit that allows customers to access significant amounts of power on-demand, day or night. The affordable Lumos service allows customers to utilize a “pay-as-you-go” model, in small amounts, by text message.

Lumos’ business model is highly scalable in large part due to the company’s partnerships with mobile operators. In Nigeria, Lumos has partnered with MTN, Nigeria largest telecommunications company with over 60 million subscribers base.

IEC Regional Centre for Africa opening in Nairobi

The official opening of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) took place on November 2, 2015. As the regional focal point for Africa, IEC-AFRC will provide training and mentoring to assist countries in the region in the adoption and use of IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems. It will cooperate closely with the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC) to promote participation in and contribution to IEC work. The Centre will be run under the joint-leadership of Evah Oduor, a well-known Kenyan with extensive know-how and expertise in standardization work, who has been IEC Coordinator for Africa since 2008, and Francois Yapo Ahoti who is joining the IEC from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) where he worked as a Chief Technical Adviser in Standardization and Quality.


More than 800 rural villages in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous region, will be lit with 76,000 solar street lights provided by Philips Lighting, as part of a government initiative to drive sustainable electrification in rural areas in the country. The LED-solar street lighting project will focus on 800 rural villages across 40 districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, as part of a flagship scheme of the state’s Chief Minister. It has been developed by Philips Lighting in partnership with the Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency.

GIZ & partners provide solar electrification in schools in Kono District, Sierra Leone

The Energising Development (EnDev) project which is based in Liberia and acts as one of the execution agencies of GIZ’s post-Ebola Recovery initiatives, in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Playhouse Foundation and the Danké Koroma Foundation have provided solar electrification to primary and secondary schools, a youth center, a Girls’ Resource Centre as well as to six peripheral health units in Kono District, eastern Sierra Leone.

UGE Installs Largest Portfolio of Commercial Solar Energy Systems in Latin America

UGE is in the midst of developing the largest portfolio of commercial solar systems in the region with their partner, OTEPI Renewables. The 22 site contract with retailer Cochez y Sia, SA, in Panama, announced in Q1 of this year, will total nearly 4.5MW of rooftop solar. The first six of these sites have already been commissioned and will significantly drive down the cost of electricity by offsetting up to 80% of the buildings’ energy use.

Practitioner Network members nominated for the Zayed Future Energy Prize

Out of over 1,400 applicants, a number of Practitioner Network members were selected as finalists for the Zayed Future Energy Prize competition, an annual award which celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in promoting renewable energy and sustainability. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on January 18th. Practitioner Network member finalists include: SMEFunds, Greenlight Planet and Off.Grid:Electric in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) category; and Kopernik, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and SolarAid in the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) category.
SunFarmer releases first quarterly impact report on progress in Nepal

SunFarmer continues to make tremendous progress in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake and beyond:

  • Raised over $150,000 in cash and equipment to help rebuild Nepal with solar energy after the earthquake.
  • Prior to the border blockade, completed ~75 solar installations in earthquake-affected areas, with at least 200 more to come.
  • Selected for the prestigious Y Combinator startup program in Silicon Valley, which helped refine their strategy and start thinking about expansion outside of Nepal.
  • On stage at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September, President Bill Clinton announced their commitment to build 1.5 MW of solar energy over the next 3 years.

Revolving Fund for solar energy in Uganda

Stiftung Solarenergie – Solar Energy Foundation together with Anuel Energy established the Community Energy Entrepreneur project (C.E.E.) which is a unique tool designed to tackle the youth unemployment problem as well as energy poverty. With the new program C.E.E.- selected youths will be trained to distribute solar products to a target population of 10,000 women and youth engaged in evening roadside vending/merchandising in Kampala, Wakiso, Entebbe & Mukono district markets through an acceptable installment repayment of 2-3 months using the Airtel Money platform. C.E.E.s sell lanterns to this target population through the Revolving Fund scheme. The installments which are collected from the target population are used to buy the next solar products for the program.

Pollinate Energy Releases Annual Report

Less than three years after selling their first solar light, Pollinate Energy is reaching their 10,000th family. Learn more about Pollinate Energy’s impact to date and plans for the future