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West African solar startup secures $5-million in funding
Easy Solar, a West African renewable energy startup has secured $5-million in a round of funding.
This included a $3-million Series A Equity round that was led by the global impact investor Acumen and the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, FMO. This also included the $2-million investment that was led by the investment platform, Trine.
The funding secured will assist the startup in expanding its current offering of services
The energy startup was founded in 2016 with the purpose of improving the lives of those living in West Africa by distributing affordable solar energy technology.
Nthabiseng Mosia, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Easy Solar, explains that the startup aims to make renewable energy and financial services easily accessible to users.
“The company makes these affordable through a range of flexible financing options, empowered by pay-as-you-go technology and mobile money, and accessible through an extensive network of agents and shops,” said Mosia.
Providing clean energy and employment
To date, the startup has made energy services available to more than 450 000 residents in Sierra Leonne and Liberia. Easy Solar has also created more than 600 employment opportunities in the clean energy sector
Easy Solar products include small solar lanterns for lighting and mobile charging and pico solar home systems (small solar power system that is mainly used in rural and “off the grid” areas) that have appliances such as televisions and fans. These products can be designed for residential, industrial, and commercial users.
As a result of the startup’s distribution network, Easy Solar can also provide clean cooking devices and pay-as-you-go smartphones.
Challenges for Easy Solar and their clients
In Liberia and Sierra Leone, there is limited access to formal financial services and as a result, more than 90% of their clients have stated that their priority is energy products for their homes and businesses.
“While some microfinance and traditional bank loans are available, high-interest rates and extensive guarantee requirements make it difficult for the average household to access credit to finance the purchase of durable goods or investment assets,” explained Mosia
According to Mosia, Sierra Leone and Liberia are both low-income countries and as a result, many residents still live off the grid.
The recent funding raised will assist Easy Solar in reaching these residents.
The startup plans to expand its business further into West Africa and offer large customized solutions within the kW and mW range to residential, commercial, and industrial clients.
“While further expansion in West Africa is on the horizon with this funding, Easy Solar remains committed to its vision of going deep into the markets it operates in. The company will continue to improve the reach of its brand and distribution network in Liberia and Sierra Leone,” said Mosia.
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Feature image: Easy Solar (Supplied)