Greenlight Planet, which has offices in Kenya, India and the US, recently raised a total of USD 60 million in equity and debt “to expand its solar-energy product lines, distribution networks, and financing capabilities in Africa and Asia.” Three entities purchased stakes of unspecified sizes in Greenlight, including Apis Growth Fund I, the lead investor in the funding round, which is managed by Nigeria- and UK-based Apis Partners. The other two entities increased existing stakes in Greenlight: Eight Roads Ventures, a private equity firm with offices in seven countries; and Bamboo Capital Partners, an investor seeking “economic, social and environmental results” from offices in five countries.
The lenders included Germany-based Deutsche Bank; Global Partnerships, which has offices in Kenya, Nicaragua and the US; SunFunder, which has offices in Kenya and the US; the “impact” unit of Switzerland’s Partners Group, Switzerland-based responsAbility Investments; and US-based Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA Funds).
Apis Managing Partner Matteo Stefanel was quoted as saying, “As the first consistently profitable, and hence proven-sustainable, company in the off-grid solar industry, Greenlight Planet is leading the off-grid solar sector in leapfrogging the electrical grid by providing reliable and affordable off-grid energy and financing for rural Africa.”
Udayan Goyal, also a managing partner at Apis, said, “Greenlight Planet’s [pay-as-you-go] system offers a financing product embedded within the sale of a much-demanded physical product, and we think this context-based approach to financial services will drive widespread financial inclusion in growth markets.”
Greenlight’s Sun King line includes lighting, phone chargers, radios, fans and other solar products. Greenlight sells in 62 countries via 100 distributors – including 40 microfinance institutions – as well as 2,400 company-managed agents. The agents offer payment plans allowing purchases over approximately seven months, with payments collected via mobile money in increments as low as USD 0.25 per day. The company has sold products to 5.5 million households, saving an estimated 400,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Sources and additional resources
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