The solar firm Orb Energy has raised over $15 million (~₹954 million) in equity and debt to expand its in-house finance facility of rooftop solar projects for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in India and Kenya.
While the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) provided $4 million (~₹254 million) in equity funding, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provided $10 million (~₹636 million) as a long-term debt.
Orb also raised more than $1 million (~₹64 million) for solar operations in Kenya. Pamiga, an investor in African finance institutions and SMEs, provided $500,000 (~₹32 million) in equity. The DEG, Germany’s development finance institution, provided $550,000 (~₹35 million).
The company feels that the new funding would elevate its position for a profitable future in the rooftop solar sector in India. Orb expects its annual sales to increase threefold in the near future, growing from the current 15 MW to 50 MW by Financial Year (FY) 19-20.
“We are extremely pleased that FMO increased its equity position in Orb Energy, adding $4 million to its earlier investment of $2 million in 2015,” said Damian Miller, Orb’s chief executive officer.
“We see this as a vote of confidence in our unique approach to the solar market in India, which has allowed us to leverage a further $10 million from OPIC to expand our finance platform for SMEs looking to save money on their electricity bill with their own rooftop solar system,” Miller added.
Lauding Orb’s growth trajectory in India, the chief executive offer of the FMO said, “Orb has demonstrated through its unique in-house finance facility and vertically integrated approach that profitable growth is possible in this fast moving, highly competitive segment of India’s solar market. We fully expect to see Orb emerge as one of the solar leaders of India in the years to come.”
“Enabling customers to access reasonably priced financing helps SMEs generate their own power and save money. We look forward to supporting access to energy in these developing markets,” said OPIC’s CEO Ray W. Washburne.
Orb Energy’s investors include FMO (The Netherlands), Bamboo Capital Partners (Switzerland), Rianta Capital (Switzerland), Acumen Capital Market Funds I (USA), and Pamiga SA (Luxembourg).
According to recent 2017 Solar Funding and M&A Report released by Mercom Capital Group, total global corporate funding into the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing raised came to $12.8 billion, a 41 percent increase compared to the $9.1 billion raised in 2016. Global VC investments came to $1.6 billion in 99 deals in 2017, up 30 percent from the $1.3 billion raised by 78 deals in 2016 – led by several large private equity deals in India.
Wendy is a co-founder of Mercom Capital Group, the parent company of Mercom India. Wendy is a contributing editor at MercomIndia.com and is responsible for content quality across the company and products. She has over 15 years of business and finance experience in the energy and technology markets. In addition to Mercom, Wendy has written for many other clean energy-focused blogs and publications. More articles from Wendy Prabhu.