Pay-as-you-go solar home systems designer, manufacturer and distributor, Solar Panda, is set to benefit from an US$8 million cash investment by EU-funded Electrification Financing Initiative (EDFI ElectriFI) and social impact investor Oikocredit.
EDFI ElectriFI and Oikocredit have agreed to co-invest US$4 million each in the Canada-based firm to sustain growth of clean, safe and affordable domestic electricity in low-income communities of Kenya.
With EDFI ElectriFI’s and Oikocredit’s financing, Solar Panda will use this investment to grow its product offerings, expand its footprint within Kenya (including into traditionally underserved counties) and also set the stage for further expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are excited to partner with leading global impact investors Oikocredit and EDFI ElectriFI and thankful that this funding will help us ramp up our efforts at making electricity access universal”, Andy Keith, founder and CEO of Solar Panda, said.
Over the next seven years, the funding will allow the company to connect over 100 000 households across North and North-East Kenya, the poorest regions of the country. Over time, Solar Panda will have deployed 8.4MW of renewable energy, allowing the avoidance of 400 000+ tons of CO2.
“I’m very proud of the growth and success our team has been able to achieve over the past 4 years and, with nearly 1 billion people in the world without access to electricity, we feel we are just getting started. We appreciate that EDFI ElectriFI and Oikocredit have shown such great confidence in our approach to balancing commercial pragmatism with our commitment to customers and look forward to working together”, Keith added.
The EDFI ElectriFI investment falls under its dedicated window for Kenya, a strategy designed specifically for the country, in close collaboration with local authorities and the EU Delegation.
“We are extremely delighted to become a shareholder of Solar Panda. The company has displayed impressive growth over the last years and demonstrated strong resilience amid COVID. Through this co-investment with Oikocredit, we aim at supporting the company in its next stage of development and realize its full potential. This includes reaching an increasing amount of households with no access to electricity in Kenya underserved counties i.e. Northern regions displaying higher (energy) poverty levels”, Lionel Dieu, ElectriFI Senior Investment Officer, said.
Oikocredit has 45 years of experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy. As at March 31, 2022 the investor finances over 500 partners, with total development financing capital outstanding of €1,015.2 million.
“In a short period of time, Solar Panda has demonstrated its capabilities in designing and selling quality solar home systems needed by many households across Kenya. We are happy with the strong local talent they have assembled and are certain they can continue delivering positive results. As an equity investor .., we will collaborate and continue directing our efforts to make clean energy accessible and improve the quality of life of thousands more households for the communities we serve”, Alexander Remy, Equity Officer at Oikocredit, said.
Since 2018, Solar Panda has provided more than 200 000 solar home systems across Kenya from its 37 retail branches, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the sector. It has a staff complement of more than 300 in Kenya and has a network of over 1 000 independent sales agents.
It was ranked the 3rd fastest growing company in Canada in 2021, by Report on Business Magazine, a publication of Canada’s newspaper of record, the Globe and Mail.