Easy Solar announced the closing of a $5m round of funding, to scale operations in West Africa including a $3 million Series A Equity round led by global impact investor Acumen and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, in addition to a $2m debt facility from investment platform Trine.
Easy Solar provides energy solutions ranging from small lanterns for lightning and mobile charging, to pico solar home systems with appliances like TVs and fans, including KW sized systems designed for residential, commercial, and industrial users. The energy company has overtime, established an extensive distribution network and high volume of prior credit data. Easy Solar now offers more than solar, it serves other services such as clean cooking devices and pay-as-go smartphones.
Earlier, investment platform Trine, had invested $2 million in the solar company, and now FMO Ventures said the electricity deficiency in West Africa and the need for cleaner energy has spurred it to close the deal.
“Off-grid energy companies play a critical role in delivering clean, affordable, reliable energy without the need for grid infrastructure. Sierra Leone’s low electrification rates combined with limited alternatives for clean energy make Easy Solar’s business model highly relevant,” Marieke Roestenberg, FMO venture program manager said.
“The company has a strong and dedicated founding the team, which has managed to grow the company substantially during the past years. FMO’s funding allows the company to continue this expansion, both inside and outside Sierra Leone,” he added.
The deal places Sierra Leone and Liberia in a position to enjoy stable electricity supply. Easy Solar is an innovative distribution company making energy and financial services affordable and accessible for those with limited access to power in the two countries.
The vast majority of people in Sierra Leone and Liberia are off-grid, both countries are low income with electrification rates below 20%. Consequently, the funding will enable Easy Solar to expand cleaner energy distribution between the West African countries.
Acumen said Easy Solar has defied the odds of low income to expand electrification to Liberia, and they are thrilled to become part of the progress.
“Acumen is thrilled to support Easy Solar’s growth in markets that are too often overlooked. Despite low mobile-money penetration and a high concentration of low-income customers, Easy Solar has made pay-as-you-go solar accessible to Sierra Leoneans and now Liberians,” said Megan Curran, West African director of Acumen.
The CEO of Easy Solar Alexandre Tourre said the company will continue to learn from local markets as it aims to expand in West Africa.
“While further expansion in West Africa is on the horizon with this funding, we remain committed to our vision of going deep into the markets we operate in. we will continue to improve the reach of our brand and distribution networks in Liberia and Sierra Leone – where we operate the country’s largest direct retail network – and leverage it to offer additional products and services to our customers, directly or through strategic partnership.
“We’re also very excited to have brought such experienced and committed investors to the table as we continue with the scaling up of our C&I activities to answer the growing energy needs of offices, farms, factories, schools, hospitals, etc. across West Africa, with the same commitment to quality, ease of use and affordability,” he said.
Since 2016 when Easy Solar was founded, it has provided renewable energy to over 450,000 people, thereby providing over 600 jobs. The solar energy company has established a transformative energy network to serve the underserved to the last mile. The progress thus serves as a complement to Solarize which has been expanding in East Africa.
The African continent has been making tremendous progress in partnership with investors in the cleaner energy ecosystem. There has been increasing input from solar energy since the 2018’s record of 1.6% power generated from renewable energy. The African Development Bank’s Africa Renewable Energy Fund (AREF), has also been providing finance across Sub-Saharan Africa for innovations geared toward renewable-energy-based power generation.