Comment

Off Grid Electric and EDF team up in offering a new off-grid solar power solution for rural areas in West Africa

  First large-scale operational partnership between a global energy company and a leading off-grid solar company.

  Off Grid Electric’s experience in Tanzania and EDF’s experience in South Africa shows that households using these services have reduced emissions from kerosene and black carbon by 1.45 kg per year.

Wednesday 9th November 2016: Off Grid Electric, a leading distributed solar company in Africa, and EDF, a global leader in low-carbon energies, today announced a partnership to supply competitive off-grid solar energy in Africa. This partnership will take the initial form of a joint venture ZECI in Ivory Coast, announced on the occasion of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP) held by the United Nations in Marrakech, Morocco. This first joint venture aims to supply power to nearly 2 million people in Ivory Coast by year 2020, with plans to rapidly extend the partnership’s initiatives to other countries in the region.

Within the scope of this joint venture, ZECI, EDF and Off Grid Electric will install and maintain solar kits for rural and peri-urban households1. These individual kits include solar panels, which are easy to install, along with batteries for storing energy. Payment can be made through the simple use of a mobile phone. Customers will therefore have access to lighting and will be able to power a suite of energy-efficient household appliances including television sets, radios, fans and mobile phone chargers.

Rolling out this initiative in West Africa will create thousands of new sustainable jobs (over 1000 jobs in Ivory Coast alone), from sales managers to call-centre employees, who will benefit from Off Grid Electric and EDF in-house training. Giving customers the option to use a renewable energy source like solar energy also benefits the environment by replacing candles, paraffin, and kerosene.

We’re thrilled to partner with EDF, an industry leader whose presence in Africa, combined with its experience, will enable us to grow Off Grid Electric’s footprint across the continent,” said Bill Lenihan, President and CFO, Off Grid Electric. “Access to reliable energy is a challenge throughout Africa and our partnership with EDF will help us to meet this challenge. Through energy independence, we hope to see households and communities seize new opportunities.”

Off Grid Electric is the perfect partner for EDF, with its excellent knowledge of the African continent and a proven track record of providing innovative and competitive solar solutions,said Simone Rossi, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice President, International Division

He also stressed that “EDF is delighted to partner with Off Grid Electric, thus enabling the latter to benefit from the Group’s extensive expertise in the area of customer relations. This will be an opportunity for us to share the experience we have gathered from supplying energy to more than 30 million customers worldwide, to the advantage of new customers in West Africa.”

Off Grid Electric will be receiving the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change 2016 Award at COP22. The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. 

 

Off Grid Electric Press Contact

Karen Navarre
karen@thenumber29.com
860-857-9533

Comment

Comment

Power for Entrepreneurs

Off Grid Electric CEO Xavier Helgesen speaks at President Obama's 7th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Off Grid Electric CEO Xavier Helgesen speaks at President Obama's 7th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Last week, two of our founders simultaneously took the stages at President Obama’s 7th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Palo Alto and Africa Energy Forum in London to discuss our evolving sector. It was an exciting moment to be among so many impressive entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry leaders from around the world.

But the truth is, we’re surrounded by inspiring entrepreneurs through our work every day. Our customers are constantly building businesses whether it be a small farm, local shop or phone charging station. 

Grace is able to keep her shop open at night with solar, dramatically increasing her earnings

Grace is able to keep her shop open at night with solar, dramatically increasing her earnings

That’s why, on Wednesday our CEO Xavier announced the launch of Kazi na Zola (“Work with Zola” in Swahili), a new full suite of solar appliances designed to help rural entrepreneurs create successful businesses and generate income.

We know that nearly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, and the electrification rate can be as low as 14.2% in rural areas. It’s one of the biggest obstacles to entrepreneurs growing their businesses in the region. With Kazi na Zola, a “business in a box” solution, local self- starters the tools they need to run their businesses – whether a barbershop, charging shop, bar, or restaurant – completely on solar.

You can read more about our announcement in this Forbes story and this piece on NPR. Xavier also penned a Medium post on the power of energy to combat poverty.

Comment

1 Comment

Press Release - OGE announces $45M debt financing deal

Off Grid Electric announces $45 million debt financing for distributed solar leasing to African households, raising a total of $70 million in investment this year

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 17, 2015 – Off Grid Electric today announced an investment vehicle to finance more than $45 million in distributed solar and battery storage for African households and small businesses. This is the first financing vehicle of its kind for distributed solar in Africa and a critical milestone in the creation of a new asset class of institutional and impact investment.

 

Off Grid Electric, based in San Francisco, California and Arusha, Tanzania, is currently installing solar in over 10,000 new homes and businesses per month. The financing vehicle makes it possible for the company to provide its radically affordable solar leasing platform to one million customers in Tanzania living on as little as $1 per day.

 

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ceniarth, Calvert Foundation and other family offices will lend up to $40 million to the vehicle. U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures program will support the facility with a $5 million grant, its third round of tiered funding

 

“We have pioneered a business model that allows consumers with no formal credit to use their existing energy budget to finance solar. We simply redirect funds they were already paying for kerosene and batteries to a solar lease payment,” said Xavier Helgesen, co-founder and CEO of Off Grid Electric. “This fund provides the template for any country in Africa to offer affordable solar energy to every citizen in their country.”

 

“After spending last week at COP21 for the signing of the historic Paris Agreement, I am thrilled to announce this new type of financing that will help Africa grow into a fossil fuel free continent,” said Bill Lenihan, CFO and Head of Business Operations of Off Grid Electric. “The commitments made in Paris require huge capital investments and this new facility is a significant step forward in bringing clean energy access to the off grid world." 

 

Off Grid Electric has a partnership with the national government and Tanzanian Investment Centre to power one million households with solar in the next three years. Juliet Kairuki, Executive Director of the Tanzania Investment Centre, said, "As an avid promoter of technology and innovation through investment, Tanzania Investment Centre is pleased that through the Off Grid investment initiative, technology has been introduced to the country that will offer pioneering and sustainable clean energy to power homes.”

 

This announcements follows Off Grid Electric’s recent $25 million Series C equity round, led by DBL Partners, which was the largest venture capital round to-date for distributed energy in Africa. In total, Off Grid has raised $70 million in equity and debt financing in 2015 to support its vision of lighting Africa in a decade.

 

Media Contact:

Kimberly Schreiber

kim.schreiber@offgrid-electric.com

 

1 Comment

Africa's Brightest Decade

1 Comment

Africa's Brightest Decade

Africa is in the midst of an energy revolution. We are halfway through a decade that may hold the fastest energy shift in human history: mass market adoption of solar in Africa.

1 Comment