29 September 2020, Freetown – Easy Solar, a leading solar company in West Africa, announced today the closing of a $5m round of funding 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 is an innovative distribution company making energy and financial services affordable and accessible for those with limited access to power in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
“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. The company has a strong and dedicated founding 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.” says Marieke Roestenberg, FMO Venture Program Manager.
Sierra Leone and Liberia are both low-income countries, with rates of electrification below 20%. The funding will enable Easy Solar to scale its reach in these markets, where the vast majority of the population are off-grid, while simultaneously expanding its portfolio of products for existing customers.
“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,” says Meghan Curran, West Africa Director for Acumen.
Founded in 2016, Easy Solar has brought transformative energy services to more than 450,000 people, and created over 600 clean energy jobs, with a far-reaching distribution network going all the way to the last mile. The company offers a wide range of energy solutions from small solar lanterns for lighting and mobile charging, to pico solar home systems with appliances like TVs and fans, all the way up to kW sized systems designed for residential, commercial, and industrial users. Because of its extensive distribution network and volume of prior credit data, Easy Solar’s offering now goes beyond its core solar range, with complementary products including clean cooking devices and pay-as-you-go smartphones.
Alexandre Tourre, CEO of Easy Solar said, “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 network 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 partnerships.
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.”
About Easy Solar
Easy Solar enhances the lives of people across West Africa by distributing solar energy solutions and other transformative durable goods. 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. More information is available at www.easysolar.org or @easysolar_sl.
Acumen invests patient capital in businesses whose products and services enable the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $132 million in 136 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States impacting 308 million lives. Acumen is also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. Learn more at www.acumen.org and on Twitter @Acumen.
FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs.
Easy Solar is part of FMO’s Ventures Program. This EUR 200mln program is supported by contributions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as well as by a guarantee from the European Commission. The Program aims to help develop emerging markets by investing in early-stage technology-enabled innovative business models. The Program focuses on direct investments in young start-up and scale-up companies in fintech, energy access and Agri Tech, as well as on indirect (fund) investments in Venture Capital funds, predominantly in Africa and the European neighborhood but the Program also has an allocation for Asia. More at fmo.nl.
Trine makes it easy for people to invest in solar energy in growing markets. Trine’s mission is to give people a triple return on investment — earn a profit while making social and environmental impact. Learn more at trine.com and on Facebook @jointrine.