Off Grid Electric Raises $55 Million to Expand Footprint in Africa

African rooftop solar provider Off Grid Electric and global energy company EDF are expanding their partnership in sub-Saharan Africa after Off Grid Electric received $55 million in Series D financing to offer off-grid solar solutions to households in Ghana.

The funding was led by private investment fund Helios Investment Partners with support from GE Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of General Electric. 

The development is in line with the New Deal on Energy for Africa, a partnership-driven effort led by the African Development Bank Group that aims to achieve universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

Commenting on the announcement, the president of Off-Grid Electric Bill Lenihan said, “We are excited to work closely with Helios and GE Ventures to accelerate our next stage of growth. They join a roster of strategic and capital partners that is already the strongest in the industry, including Tesla, Total, EDF, DBL Partners, Zouk Capital, Vulcan Capital, and Omidyar Network.”


Off Grid Electric, through its consumer brand name Zola, currently provides power to more than 150,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana. Off Grid Electric and EDF first partnered for a joint venture in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2016.

Marianne Laigneau, the group senior executive vice president at EDF, said, “We are delighted to be entering the Ghana market with Off Grid Electric and are already putting together innovative new off-grid solutions to support the energy transition in Africa. Off-grid power is thus becoming a strong contributor to the expansion of our business and fits perfectly into our CAP2030 strategy, which aims to triple the EDF Group’s international business outside of Europe by 2030.”

More than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without electricity and those who do have access to electricity suffer from unreliable grids. However, the country has an abundant supply of solar that remains an unutilized source of electricity generation. 

The expanded partnership between Off Grid Electric and EDF is only the latest in a series of efforts aimed at improving access to electricity in Africa.

In December 2017, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved $324 million (~₹20.84 billion) in loan support for two renewable energy projects in Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire.

In October 2017, Mercom reported that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a total of $6.3 million to strengthen the off-grid energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The announced investments came as activity in the solar sector picked up across the globe last year.  

According to the 2017 Q4 and Annual Solar Funding and M&A Report released by Mercom Capital Group earlier this month, global venture capital investments into the solar sector rose 30 percent to $1.6 billion in 99 announced deals in 2017, from the $1.3 billion raised by 78 deals in 2016.

Image credit: Off Grid Electric