Greenlight Planet, a leading US-based company that distributes solar energy products for off-grid homes in emerging markets, has announced it has raised US$5 million for expansion in Africa.
The funds will enable Greenlight Planet to massively expand distribution in Africa – where it has 400+ village direct sales agents located in Kenya and Uganda – and globally, and commercialize a much demanded pay-as-you-go solution by its consumers.
Since 2009, Greenlight Planet has sold over 4.5 million Sun King Solar lighting and phone charging devices, impacting the lives of over 15 million people living in rural and under-electrified areas.
The company is now targeting an aggressive penetration of 30% of off-grid households by 2020. How is it going to do this? The company is planning a major move into the fintech space by integrating Angaza’s Pay-As-You-Go technology into upcoming Sun King products through an innovative consumer financing program called Sun King Easy Buy.
“To achieve our mission of bringing affordable, best quality lighting to as many off-grid consumers as possible, we had to make it even easier for our consumers to switch over from unsafe kerosene lamps,” CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight Planet, Anish Thakkar said in a press release.
Sun King Easy Buy makes its high quality solar lamps accessible to millions by lowering upfront payments and providing flexible financing options.
The investment was secured from the US government’s finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC invested in Mawingu Networks, a solar-powered Internet service provider in Kenya, last year.
“The expansion of off-grid energy solutions at scale is crucial to bring connectivity, opportunity, and security to populations that live away from the grid,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO.
She added, “Greenlight Planet’s strategy draws together clear development impact goals with a sound business plan and innovative partnerships to open up wider distribution. I’m looking forward to the results of OPIC’s support to them.”
Greenlight Planet is focused on delivering honest, affordable energy to the world’s 1.2 billion off-grid consumers. The company has 200+ full-time employees across 11 offices in the United States, Africa, India and China.