Off-grid solar solutions provider d.light has raised $41 million in equity financing from a consortium led by Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm that specializes in the energy sector. Consortium partners include the Dutch Development Bank FMO, as well as government-sponsored investment funds Swedfund and Norfund.
The funding will enable the expansion of the company’s solar and its ‘Pay As You Go’ (PAYGO) consumer finance business model in Africa.
“We are thrilled to have Inspired Evolution as the newest funding partner in the d.light family,” said d.light co-founder and CEO Ned Tozun.
According to Mercom Capital Group’s 9M 2018 Solar Funding and M&A report, global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for the solar sector in the first nine months of 2018 totaled $889 million, a 10 percent decrease compared to the $985 million raised during the same months in 2017.
In March 2018, Mercom had reported that the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced plans to provide $25 million in financing to D.light to strengthen energy access in Africa through the installation of solar kits that do not require grid connectivity.
Then in April 2018, d.light raised $50 million in funding from the EIB, responsAbility Investments, Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA), SunFunder, and another mission aligned investor (unidentified at this time).
Off-grid solar has a bright future in under developed parts of the world, and funding towards these emerging markets has also witnessed a significant increase over the years. According to Mercom’s Solar Funding and M&A Reports, the global off-grid solar market saw deals worth $97 million in 2015. Approximately $147 million were raised in 2016 and in the year 2017, the sector witnessed booming growth, raising a record $243 million.
In January 2018, Mercom reported that the off-grid solar solutions have benefited approximately 360 million people across the globe, according to a report by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, Dalberg Advisors, and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).
In April 2018, GOGLA reported sales of $115 million (4.14 million products) from companies who sold off-grid solar products on the global market, the equivalent of installing around 22 MW of solar panels. This is an 18 percent increase compared to the first half of the year.
In October 2018, GOGLA published a report according to which India emerged as the world’s largest cash market for off-grid solar products, with 1.3 million products sold in H1 2018 alone. This accounts for an impressive 44 percent of global sales. 3.7 million off-grid solar products were sold globally during the first half of 2018, an increase of four percent when compared to the same time last year, the report finds.
Image credit: Greenlight Planet