Off-Grid Energy Gaining Momentum

Here at ID, we are always excited to learn about innovative developments in the energy sector, specifically in off-grid technologies. In emerging markets especially, there is a real need for efficient, alternative energy products. The following articles detail recent some developments that will help to address this issue.

Calling all energy grid startups for this Hawaiian accelerator’s next program by Katie Fehrenbacher on GigaOm
Hawaii’s Energy Excelerator announced that it will soon be opening applications for its 2015 program. The accelerator provides funding, advice and connections to Hawaiian organizations to seed and growth stage startups. This year’s program will seek innovative companies focusing on energy storage, smart grid development, and clean energy distribution. Energy Excelerator will give out a total of $5 million in potential investments ranging from $75,000 to $1M, depending on the stage of the company. Ambri, an energy storage company from last year’s program, just completed a $35 million Series C round of funding.

$45 Million Flows to Off-Grid Solar in Past Four Months by Justin Guay on The Huffington Post
The potential offered by the off-grid solar market is huge, and high-profile investors are finally starting to take notice. In the past four months alone, almost $45 million has been invested into companies in the sector by big names such as Khosla Impact and SolarCity.  Here at ID, we have made three investments in the space since 2011 (Simpa Networks, SolarNOW, and EGG-energy). While this momentum is certainly good news, it is important to note that these equity investments will only sustain companies’ business operations for so long. Companies in these markets often need to seek debt investments to serve as working capital in order to effectively scale their technologies. The industry has turned to the World Bank to start a venture debt fund of around $500 million to facilitate this. Likewise, we provide working capital to our portfolio companies.

GE, USADF and USAID Launch Off-Grid Energy Challenge in Six Countries on AllAfrica
Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge recently announced that the second round of its challenge will consist of 18 grants of up to $100,000 each. The program, sponsored by GE, USADF, and USAID, gives grants to companies, organizations, and individuals providing off-grid energy solutions using renewable resources. The challenge will launch in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, and aims to benefit local populations that are currently underserved by existing utility companies.

Solar energy firms in Kenya receive World Bank boost by Bedah Mengo on Coastweek
The World Bank has announced grants totaling $1.05 million for eight off-grid lighting distributors in Kenya. The companies qualified for the grants after winning a competition organized by the World Bank, and will use the funds to expand their services to the vast number of Kenyans who lack access to energy. These grants are part of the World Bank’s initiative to support small energy business development in sub-Saharan Africa and will help to ease the lack of energy access in Kenya.

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