Energy Access Ventures (EAV), a Paris based venture focused on investing in growing companies in the Sub Saharan Africa’s (SSA) energy sector, has recently announced that a first USD 2 million fund has been released to Off Grid Electric (OGE), a San Francisco based off-grid electric company focused on SSA, to expand its reach and impact in Tanzania and other East African country.
The fund released is part of a USD 25 million investment round with proceeds from DBL Investors, Zouk Capital, Vulcan Capital, and SolarCity, which is meant to support the reach in Tanzania to 1 million households by 2017 and OGE’s expansion to Rwanda.
With this investment, OGE becomes the first company to be benefited from a group of 20 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in SSA to be awarded with a Professional Private Equity Fund of EUR 54.5 million – USD 57.8 million -, which was launched earlier this year by EAV and that will be released within the next five years with the advice of Aster Capital, a Paris based company investing in energy, transportation and materials sectors.
EAV’s Managing Partner, Dr. Michael H. Gera, explained that the venture will keep investing in OGE and closely work with them to bring energy to the 600 million people in Africa that have not currently access to electricity.
With this investment, UK is bringing not only solar power to people that have never had electricity before but is also contributing to reduce toxic emissions and to provide more hours of study for children in Tanzania, explained Grant Shapps, Minister at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), one of the main funders of the venture.
Tanzania is closely working with international develop partners to boost its power capacity from the current installed 1,308 MW to 2,780 MW by 2016 with the usage of clean energy projects according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
This is why initiatives as the Off-Grid Energy Challenge are being promoted to encourage entrepreneurs in renewable energy to support access to power to rural communities by the implementation of solar-powered mini-grids and home solar systems.
According to the World Bank (WB), only 15.3% of the Tanzanian population has access to electricity. This increases to 46.4% in urban areas and decreases to 3.6% in rural areas.