Solar energy startup ZOLA Electric, Dutch development bank FMO, and investment firm Symbiotics, recently announced a USD 32.5 million facility to finance the growth of ZOLA’s Tanzania operations over the next 5 years.
The FMO-arranged senior loan will consist of USD 5 million from the Access to Energy Fund (AEF), which catalyzes the investment of USD 12.5 million from FMO-A and USD 15 million from Symbiotics.
The financing package will grow ZOLA Electric’s service delivery in Tanzania, helping an additional 145,500 households to access energy in areas with no grid infrastructure.
The investment is also expected to create around 2,100 new jobs in off-grid solar.
Bill Lenihan, Co-CEO of ZOLA Electric commented, “We are excited to announce this new investment from FMO and Symbiotics. It will allow us to connect more people in Tanzania, support the communities in which we operate and continue the development of our industry-leading power systems.”
Chris Wurdemann, Vice President of Corporate Finance, ZOLA Electric added, “ZOLA’s technologically advanced product offering and innovative business model have attracted an incredible group of strategic and capital partners. FMO and Symbiotics join a roster of strategic and capital partners that is the strongest in the industry, including Tesla, Total, EDF, DBL Partners, Helios Investment Partners, GE Ventures and SunFunder.”
Rosemarijn van der Meij, Fund manager of the Access to Energy Fund (AEF), managed by FMO added, “The off-grid sector is developing fast and receiving increased attention from investors but is still perceived as high risk; few players have reached profitability. ZOLA Electric Tanzania has a dedicated and professional management team and is well on the way on its path towards profitability. This transaction fits FMO’s inclusive business and green strategy as well as the core theme in the strategy of the Access to Energy Fund: providing access to energy for the unreached rural communities.”
Vivek Pradhan, Head of Market Innovation at Symbiotics said, “We are excited to grow our partnership with one of the earliest leaders of the effort to electrify Sub-Saharan Africa through affordable solar power. Symbiotics will continue to support the provision of accessible clean energy to under-electrified households, businesses, and communities in emerging markets.”
About ZOLA Electric
ZOLA Electric (formerly Off Grid Electric) is a renewable energy startup focused on Africa.
ZOLA Electric designs renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology.
ZOLA Electric powers more than 180,000 homes and businesses across Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana.