Husk Power, the company developing community solar minigrids across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, announced Tuesday that it has raised more than $100 million in equity and debt financing to expand its operations.
Series D funding in the amount of $43 million has been provided by STOA Infra & Energy, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Proparco, all new investors in Husk Power. Existing investors Shell Ventures, Swedfund and FMO also participated in this round.
The company also raised an additional $60 million in debt from financial institutions that include the European Investment Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
“We have successfully created and scaled a rural energy platform that is life-changing for our communities from day one,” said Manoj Sinha, co-founder and CEO of Husk. “We’re excited to put this new equity and debt to work to supercharge Husk’s growth and unlock the full economic and social potential for a generation of rural Africans and Asians, especially women and youth, that would otherwise be left behind.”
Profitability achieved, now expansion
Husk Power has been making news in the minigrid space since it raised its first $20 million in equity in 2018. The company raised another $5 million in 2020.
Minigrids, sometimes referred to as remote microgrids, are an ideal energy solution for countries lacking a unified power infrastructure. Typically used in remote areas that do not have access to a central grid, minigrid systems use software to control distributed energy resources like solar panels and battery storage, providing remote communities with reliable, clean, and affordable power.
Today the company’s AI-enabled platforms operate a fleet of 200 solar hybrid minigrids in India, Nigeria and Tanzania, providing power to 500,000 people and more than 10,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
In addition to building community minigrids, Husk’s business model includes installing rooftop solar for businesses and energy-as-a-service offerings for drinking water filtration, agroprocessing and other applications. Earlier this year, the company released financial data showing that it had become EBITDA positive in the fourth quarter of 2022 in both Nigeria and India.
Sinha said Husk's business approach and technology focus has a low cost of delivered energy and high revenue per user, leading the company to become a “proﬁtable and scalable minigrid company” that addresses the full breadth of the rural energy ecosystem.
“STOA is impressed by the track record and performance of Husk, which has resulted in a competitive energy solution that is affordable, reliable and clean,” said Jean-Pierre Barral, deputy CEO of STOA Infra & Energy.
Barral added that STOA is excited to “support the growth of the minigrid industry, which is key to achieving universal energy access and a low carbon energy transition.”
Husk will use the new funding to build more than 1,400 additional minigrids, providing power to 300,000 new customers. A third of those customers will be MSMEs, according to Husk.
It is expected that these new microgrids will avoid 350,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Africa Sunshot Initiative
The equity and debt financing will also help Husk expand its footprint and expand into new markets in Africa and Asia.
Husk said in a statement that two-thirds of the new funding will be invested in Africa, kickstarting its Africa Sunshot Initiative, which was announced in September.
The Initiative aims to build 2,500 minigrids in six countries over the next five years, expanding on the company’s previous goals for minigrid development.
“The minigrid industry needs at least a 10X increase in its rate of deployment to achieve the World Bank’s target of 200,000 minigrids by 2030,” said Brad Mattson, Husk Board Chairman. He noted that this new round of financing positions Husk to “help to create an industrial revolution in rural Africa and Asia.”
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