USAID Invests in 8 Solar Startups in Africa

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Source: USAID

Marrakesh, Morocco – At the 22nd session of the UN Climate conference (COP 22), Power Africa Coordinator Andrew M. Herscowitz announced $4 million in new investments to eight companies that are revolutionizing household solar power across Africa through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development. The Enterprise Awards are expected to create up to 120,000 additional connections in off-grid communities.

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Enterprise Awards provide seed funding to solar start-ups to support geographic expansion throughout Africa, test new business models and tap into private and public financing.

The new awards will enable recipients to expand home solar power solutions to existing and new African markets, improve payment and distribution processes, and bring down costs for customers:

  • Greenlight Planet (Nigeria, Uganda) is expanding sales of low-cost solar home solutions through state of the art pay-as-you-go technology and deep distribution networks.
  • d.light (Kenya) is developing and expanding on software, training materials, and a call center to support a direct distribution model.
  • Fenix (Zambia) is expanding energy access through its expandable solar solutions kits that include options to power phones, lights, radios, televisions, and other appliances.
  • Orb Energy  (Kenya) is establishing partnerships with banks and microfinance institutions to finance consumer solar system purchases.
  • VITALITE (Zambia) is distributing pay-as-you-go solar home systems, televisions, solar lamps, and appliances for rural, off-grid communities.
  •  PEG Africa (Ghana) is testing new digital payment tools that will help rural customers more easily pay for their solar home systems using mobile money.
  • Shinbone Labs (Benin, Ghana) is directly selling pre-packaged, expandable, low-cost solar kits that can be remotely activated, monitored and, in the future, paid by mobile phones.
  • Village Energy (Uganda) is building a last-mile solar distribution and servicing network in rural Uganda by training young men and women to become technicians and retail shop managers in their communities.
USAID’s U.S Global Development Lab issued the awards as part of a competitive process through the Development Innovation Ventures program. Applications were evaluated based on three criteria: cost effectiveness relative to traditional alternatives, the plan for collecting rigorous evidence of success, and proposed pathways to scale if proven effective.

Author: 234Finance

234Finance.com is an online platform that promotes African entrepreneurship. We achieve this by bridging the gap between investors and early stage startups in Africa’s emerging market.
234Finance.com is strategic for promoting entrepreneurship through the power and effective use of information.

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234Finance
234Finance.com is an online platform that promotes African entrepreneurship. We achieve this by bridging the gap between investors and early stage startups in Africa’s emerging market. 234Finance.com is strategic for promoting entrepreneurship through the power and effective use of information.

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