AFRICA: Greenlight gets $90 million to distribute its solar home systems

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AFRIQUE : Greenlight obtient 90 M$ pour distribuer ses systèmes solaires domestiques©Ralf Siemieniec/Shutterstock

Solar home systems provider Greenlight Planet has just secured $90 million to accelerate the distribution of its solar home systems in Africa. The funds were obtained as part of a financial mobilization involving several financial institutions including Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC Group), the Netherlands Development Finance Corporation (FMO), Norfund and ARCH Emerging Markets Partners.

This is an unprecedented financial mobilization for a supplier of solar home systems operating in Africa. Greenlight Planet, which provides this decentralized electricity access solution, has just obtained $90 million in a deal involving several influential financial institutions in the African electricity sector. These include Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC Group), the Netherlands Development Finance Corporation (FMO), Norfund, and Arch Emerging Markets Partners.

Impact investors such as ResponsAbility, Sima Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships, and Africa Renewable Power Fund (Aref) also participated in the financial mobilization for Greenlight Planet. The funds were made available in the form of debt and equity investment in this company, which distributes its solar home systems in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria. The solar kit supplier was advised in this transaction by Akira Partners and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The development of its activities in Africa

Greenlight Planet distributes its electricity access solutions mainly in rural areas. The company, based in Chicago (USA), supplies Sun King systems consisting of solar panels, batteries for electricity storage and LED light bulbs, which save electricity. This solar home system also has charging stations for cell phones, radio and even television.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, these solar home energy systems were essential to allow families to spend more time at home. Families depend on Sun King appliances for lighting, communication, entertainment and access to information,” said CDC Group.

Already 1.3 million solar home systems distributed in Africa

Like other solar home system suppliers operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Greenlight Planet has adapted to the low purchasing power in rural areas by distributing its equipment through the pay-as-you-go system. This model of financing solar kits is facilitated by mobile money, a cell phone payment service available everywhere in Africa, even in remote areas.

The company, which employs 1,250 people, will use its new financing to expand its activities in Africa. To date, Greenlight Planet has already distributed 1.3 million solar home systems in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. According to CDC Group, the company is installing 65,000 new rooftop solar systems per month. “Of the $90 million in committed funding, $69 million has been disbursed to the company, with the balance to be drawn down as the company provides additional solar home systems,” CDC Group said.

Jean Marie Takouleu


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