Husk Power Secures $100+ Million in Equity & Debt in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Source: 10/24/2023, Location: North America

Series D equity investors, who collectively deploy more than $10 billion annually, include STOA Infra & Energy, US International Development Finance Corporation, and Proparco;
Two-thirds of the capital will go to Sub-Saharan Africa, marking a major step towards Husk’s goal of mobilizing $500 million to reach 2,500 minigrids on the continent under its Africa Sunshot initiative;
The new capital will fund 1,400 new minigrids, nearly 300,000 new connections (a third of them MSMEs) and avoid 350,000 tonnes of CO2 from displacement of diesel generation, while adding 2,500 new direct jobs.

Husk Power Systems (“Husk”) announced that it has closed $43 million in Series D funding, the largest-ever equity raise in the minigrid industry. The funding cements Husk’s position as the leader in electrifying communities in rural Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with an AI-enabled platform of renewable energy services. The equity funding includes new investors STOA Infra & Energy, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Proparco, as well as existing investors Shell Ventures, Swedfund and FMO.

In addition, Husk has leveraged the Series D equity to secure an additional $60 million in debt from several finance institutions, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the International Finance Corporation. (IFC).

Since raising $25 million in equity funding in 2018, Husk has grown its fleet 20-fold to more than 200 solar hybrid minigrids across two continents, impacted 500,000 people, served more than 10,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), avoided 25,000 tonnes of CO2, achieved a CAGR of 60% despite two years of Covid, and maintained exceptional customer loyalty with a retention rate of more than 90%. It also became the first minigrid company to become EBITDA positive in Q4 2022, and has built a team of more than 500 employees.

Over the next 5 years, the new funding will be used to grow Husk’s fleet 8-times by adding more than 1,400 new minigrids with a projected 300,000 new connections (one-third of them MSMEs), while avoiding 350,000 tonnes of CO2. Husk will also continue to build a world-class team and add 2,500 more employees, while expanding into new markets in Africa and Asia. The Africa Sunshot initiative, which Husk announced at the Africa Climate Summit in September 2023, will mobilize at least $500 million for Husk to scale to 2,500 minigrids in 6 countries within 5 years. Two-thirds of the newly announced financing will go toward Sub-Saharan Africa, marking an important first step to achieving the Africa Sunshot goals.

Commented Manoj Sinha, Husk Co-Founder and CEO:“We have successfully created and scaled a rural energy platform that is life-changing for our communities from day one. We’re excited to put this new equity and debt to work to supercharge Husk’s growth and unlock the full economic and social potential for a generation of rural Africans and Asians, especially women and youth, that would otherwise be left behind.”

Referring to the financing, Jean-Pierre Barral, Deputy CEO, STOA Infra & Energy, said:
“STOA is impressed by the track record and performance of Husk, which has resulted in a competitive energy solution that is affordable, reliable and clean. STOA is excited to lead this equity investment in Husk and support the growth of the minigrid industry, which is key to achieving universal energy access and a low carbon energy transition.”

Mateo Goldman, Acting Head, Office of Equity and Investment Funds, DFC, stated: “This is an important transaction that will strengthen energy security across Africa and Asia, which will bolster investment, increase economic opportunity, and improve livelihoods. This project will help meet the growing demand for clean, affordable, and reliable energy vital to creating stability and prosperity.”

Added Amit Narayan, ex-CEO, AutoGrid Systems & Husk Board Member: “Husk Power has shown how AI can be a catalyst for providing planetary-scale impact and sustainable growth. Husk’s intelligent platform allows automated management of rural minigrids operating under extreme environmental and cost constraints, and it has achieved what many felt was impossible by providing access to 24×7 reliable power to some of the most underserved communities in a profitable manner. I look forward to the next phase of this incredible story.

Mark Gainsborough, Chairman, Low Carbon Advisors & Husk Board Member commented: “Husk Power represents a climate win-win-win. It is delivering low-carbon economic growth, it is helping climate-vulnerable communities adapt to increasing environmental shocks, and it is transitioning rural communities dominated by diesel generation to more affordable and cleaner solar power. It is extremely exciting that they now have infrastructure-level capital to scale this unique climate solution.”

Concluded Brad Mattson, Husk Board Chairman: “The minigrid industry needs at least a 10X increase in its rate of deployment to achieve the World Bank’s target of 200,000 minigrids by 2030. Husk is now positioned to lead that growth and help to create an industrial revolution in rural Africa and Asia.”

Husk pioneered the community minigrid industry in 2008, creating a new category of decentralized renewable energy infrastructure that provides first-time access to reliable, affordable, clean and modern power. It has since evolved its business model, expanding beyond energy access to include the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. As a result, Husk has matured from a pure-play minigrid operator to become an integrated platform that unlocks the “Power of Rural” in Africa and Asia. Besides electricity sales, this includes sales and financing of energy efficient appliances, turnkey commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop solar and a range of low-carbon and climate-resilient energy services, including e-mobility, agro-processing and cold storage. This innovative ecosystem approach is progressively becoming more intelligent and automated, powered by AI and IoT.

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