January Off-Grid Solar Investment Floors 2014, GTM

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Numbers collated by senior editor at Greentech Media, Stephen Lacey, show that $42 million has been invested into off-grid solar companies currently working in developing countries already this year.

India Assigns Over 1 GW of Solar PowerWhich, for context, equates to roughly two-thirds of all off-grid investments made throughout 2014.

Greentech Media reported towards the end of 2014 that “off-grid solar companies operating in developing countries reached $63.9 million in 2014,” a number that now seems to be severely at risk of being smashed in the next couple of months.

Stephen Lacey, senior editor at Greentech Media, posted about January’s off-grid solar investment numbers on the GTM Solar site, concluding that the investments came from “four different rounds for companies in solar lighting, solar electronics charging and pay-as-you-go financing.”

Just a few weeks ago, to add to the information provided by Greentech, our own Mridul Chadha reported on SunEdison’s plans to install 250 MW of off-grid solar across 5,000 Indian villages. SunEdison will work in conjunction India-based Omnigrid Micropower Company in what has the potential to be “the largest private-sector initiative in the distributed solar power domain for India.”

Included in Stephen Lacey’s round-up were a $10 million financing round for Greenlight Planet led by Fidelity Growth Partners; $12.45 million in expansion capital was granted to Kenyan mobile payment startup M-KOPA by LGT Venture Philanthropy; the International Financing Corporation provided a loan of $4.5 million to Tanzanian solar lighting firm Off-Grid Electric, which also helped the company close another $2.5 million investment from Cordiant Capital; and late in the month, a $12.6 million venture round completed for Fenix International, a company that sells and finances solar powered battery systems for lightning, mobile phone charging, and the like.

In the end, just over $42 million has been raised in the first month of 2015 alone, and in addition to the promised $500 million loan from the World Bank for India’s Power Grid Corporation, solar developers of all stripes working in developing countries are expecting big things from 2015 — and for good reason.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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6 thoughts on “January Off-Grid Solar Investment Floors 2014, GTM

  • The developing world is where electric generation and (therefore possibly GHGs) will be increasing the most. Fixing this early (like now) with a lot of small cos in there to earn money (so they will maintain the PV-panels) is our best hope. The govt ministers in Africa are still of the big central coal plant mindset but they haven’t the resources to string electric cables to the 80% who live in the small communities.

    Check out this wonderful story below showing the human side of the sellers and buyers in Africa. Really gives one hope:


  • As I commented at GTM, M-KOPA is not a “mobile payment startup” but an energy startup using existing mobile payments infrastructure. It would take very deep pockets to challenge the successful mobile payment incumbent M-Pesa (link). This is run in Kenya by telco Safaricom, which is controlled by the global giant Vodafone. Regulators in Africa still have to lay down and enforce rules for interoperability of mobile payments systems, as we take for granted with banks. Still, M-Pesa is a pretty benevolent monopoly.

  • This is critical in that it prevents fossil fuel development from reaching catastrophic, China-like levels in places like Africa.

    • I don’t think Africa has the resources to reach catastrophic, China-like levels of fossil development… That, or something else held them back from it.

      • Borrowing to build coal plants has become quite difficult with the World Bank and multiple major investment banks no longer willing to finance coal.

        If you take a look at REVE ( http://www.evwind.es/ ) from time to time you will see lots of information about new renewable energy installations in Africa and other developing nations.

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