Husk Power Systems (Husk), the leading minigrid company serving rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, has secured a new round of equity investment totalling $43 million. New investors include STOA, which led the round, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Proparco, with follow-on investments from existing shareholders including Swedfund and FMO. The funding will accelerate the rollout of minigrids in rural and peri-urban Nigeria and India, enabling increased access to clean, affordable, reliable, and modern energy.
Husk builds, owns and operates minigrids that help catalyze economic growth in rural India and Africa. The company has the largest ﬂeet of community solar minigrids across the two continents, with 200 operational minigrids and aims to double its footprint in the next 12 months. Its innovative approach combines solar energy, batteries, and backup sources to ensure round-the-clock access to clean and affordable power for small businesses and households.
Since pioneering the community minigrid in 2008, Husk has expanded its business model to not only provide energy access but also facilitate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. This evolution includes the sales and finance of energy efficient appliances, turnkey commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop solar and a range of low-carbon and climate-resilient energy services, including agro-processing and irrigation. In 2022, thanks to its long-standing experience and excellent performances Husk turned its first profitable quarter in both Africa and Asia, with a positive Q4 EBITDA in its two primary markets Nigeria and India.
Beyond being one of the most successful minigrid companies, Husk has also long been an active leader striving to move the needle for the overall industry. In 2022, Husk published the first-ever Minigrid Industry Roadmap, providing a framework for scaling the industry to 200,000 minigrids. In early 2023, the company launched a public-private partnership proposal in view of fast-tracking the deployment of minigrids in the Least Developed Countries. More recently, the company announced its ‘Africa Sunshot’ initiative, an ambitious plan to contribute to the achievement of universal energy access by 2030. This plan includes the goal to operate a fleet of 2,500 minigrids in off-grid and weak-grid communities in rural Sub-Saharan Africa.
The role of minigrids in achieving universal energy access
According to the International Energy Agency, more than 700 million people worldwide lack access to electricity, with the majority residing in Africa where the electrification rate of the 33 least developed countries is only 36%. Solar minigrids can play a significant role in improving energy inclusion. To meet the growing energy demand, it is estimated that a substantial number of new minigrids need to be built before the end of the decade. This significant investment push is supported by energy access programs funded by the World Bank and other donors, including in Husk’s core markets.
In Nigeria, 90 million people still live without access to electricity. With grid-extension not considered a near-term option, and diesel and petrol generators the usual, but expensive and polluting option for light and power, solar minigrids are key to enabling economic growth, increased employment and wealth creation. In India, despite the country approaching 100% grid electrification, daily power cuts continue to impact around half of rural households and a third of urban households, hindering productivity and economic growth. In the northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Husk’s minigrids allow rural businesses, schools and health clinics to access reliable, clean and affordable energy, thereby supporting growth and creating job opportunities.
“We are excited to have STOA lead this financing, which will enable us to fully deploy our AI-powered renewable energy platform in Sub-Saharan Africa and India, and unleash a rural industrial revolution. It is also a clear signal to governments and investors that the minigrid industry is fully bankable and ready for primetime." Shared Manoj Sinha, Husk’s CEO.
“The mini-grid sector is key to achieving access to electricity for all and to accelerate the energy transition in rural areas. This is STOA’s first investment in the sector: we were impressed by the track-record and the performance of Husk that together result in a very competitive solution in terms of cost and reliability” explained Jean-Pierre Barral, Deputy CEO of STOA. “This investment in Husk, which will fund the rollout of new minigrids in India, Nigeria and possibly other African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, perfectly aligns with STOA’s mandate as an impact investor with a focus on emerging markets and climate change mitigation.”
“DFC is proud to support Husk in accelerating the growth of sustainable, resilient minigrid infrastructure in emerging markets, which will bolster energy security and support solar supply chain diversification,” said Mateo Goldman, Acting Head of DFC’s Office of Equity and Investment Funds. “This investment will help meet the growing demand for clean, affordable, and reliable energy and support low-carbon development across Africa and Asia.”
“Proparco is thrilled to be investing in Husk via its Africa Renewable Scale up Facility supported by the European Union and thereby to contribute to the growth of one of leaders of the minigrid sector and to accelerate access to reliable and clean energy in an affordable way for off grid rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa” said Fabrice Perez, head of Venture Capital at Proparco.
“We are excited to welcome world-class investors STOA, DFC and Proparco on board on Husk’s journey. Their investments also serve as a recognition of the great work Husk has been doing in rolling out mini grids to bring reliable and affordable clean energy access to communities not adequately served by the grid. We look forward to working together and jointly supporting Husk in its growth trajectory.” said Marieke Roestenberg, Head of Venture Capital at FMO.
Founded in 2008, Husk Power Systems is the leading net-zero energy company serving rural Asia and Africa, and owner and operator of the largest ﬂeet of community solar minigrids across the two continents. Its digital and sustainable solutions accelerate access to modern and affordable electricity and enable rural economic growth and social well-being. Husk’s focus on the customer meets the growing aspirations of rural businesses and households, while its grid-interactive solution supports national integrated electriﬁcation plans.
For more information: huskpowersystems.com
Launched in 2017 by Caisse des Dépôts et des Consignations and Agence Française de Développement, we are a leading impact investor in infrastructure and energy. Our purpose: financing and supporting the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure for future generations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
More information: www.stoainfraenergy.com
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The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, and small business and financial services. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.
Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement Group, has been working with the private sector for over 45 years for a more just and sustainable world. With an international network of 23 local offices, Proparco works closely with its partners to build sustainable solutions in response to environmental and social challenges in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Proparco benefits from sector-based expertise as well as a wide range of financial solutions tailored to the different stages of business development, notably thanks to its Digital Africa subsidiary, and its Propulse technical assistance offering designed to scale up the impacts and performance of its partners. Proparco's new “Acting together for greater impact” Strategy 2023-2027 enables, strengthens and amplifies the different ways in which it works with its partners.
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. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a 50+ year proven track-record in empowering entrepreneurs to make local economies more inclusive, productive, resilient and sustainable. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: Agribusiness, Food & Water, Energy, and Financial Institutions. With a total committed portfolio of EUR ~13 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector development banks globally.
For more information: www.fmo.nl