d.light secures financing to expand off-grid solar power in Africa, Asia

16 Jan 2017, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria

Summary

d.light raised $10.5 million from investors to expand its operations to low income families in Africa and Asia.

An off-grid solar panel

d.light – an American company focused on delivering off-grid solar solutions in developing countries – said today that it has raised $10.5 million from a consortium of investors to expand its operations to low income families in Africa and Asia using pay-as-you-go (paygo) financing solutions.

The San Francisco-based company said it raised $5 million in equity from Norfund, the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries. It also raised $5.5 million in grant funding from two non-profits: Beyond the Grid, an initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Shell Foundation, a London-based charity established by Royal Dutch Shell.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of the investors in this latest funding round, which will help us empower more people in these regions,” said Ned Tozun, d.light CEO. “The demand for off-grid solar is taking off, and we're now well prepared to meet the needs of customers who need our products the most.”

d.light is a leading provider of off-grid solar solutions with a commanding market share in emerging markets mainly in Africa and Asia. The company said it has sold over 15 million solar and power products – including lanterns, mobile chargers, and lighting systems – in 62 countries, reaching over 65 million people in the process. d.light said it sells “hundreds of thousands” of units per month, while maintaining excellent quality at scale.

Norfund said its $5 million equity investment in d.light was done through its co-investment vehicle, KLP Norfund Investments. (KLP is Norway's largest pension fund manager and participates with funding through this vehicle).

“Norfund invests in profitable and sustainable enterprises that contribute to economic growth and poverty alleviation,” said Mark Davis, Head of Clean Energy investments at Norfund. "Access to energy is a key input for development, and we believe energy mix for the foreseeable future also will include off grid solutions, in particular for rural households and businesses. As the leading provider of off-grid solutions in emerging markets, d.light is a good addition to our energy portfolio, mostly consisting of utility scale projects connected to the grid.”

Founded in 2007 as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products designed to serve the over 2 billion people globally without access to reliable electricity. With five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States, d.light has impacted over 65 million lives with its products. d.light has dedicated itself to providing reliable, affordable, and accessible solar lighting and power systems for the developing world, with the goal of reaching 100 million people by 2020.


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