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Renewable Energy

ZOLA Electric Secures $90m Funding to Expand into New Markets

ZOLA Electric, a renewable energy firm with operations in several African countries, has raised $90 million in debt and equity ($45 million each) funding.

The equity part was led by TotalEnergies Ventures — the capital venture of TotalEnergies; San Francisco-based impact VC firm DBL Partners; Africa’s largest PE firm Helios Investment Partners; Vulcan Capital, the investment arm of Paul Allen; Lyndon and Pete Rive (founders of Tesla-owned SolarCity); and New York-based utility-focused hedge fund Electron Capital Partners. The debt financing features top energy lenders FMO and SunFunder.

The new investment will be used to improve product development and commercial efforts.

Founded in 2011 by Erica Mackey, Xavier Helgesen, and Joshua Pierce, ZOLA Electric designs renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology.

Adaptable to energy needs and income, ZOLA Electric’s solar systems can be bought over time using PAYGo micro-finance leasing and mobile money payments.

The company has an estimated 1.5 million users and over 300,000 homes and businesses that use ZOLA products in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia, DRC, South Africa, Zambia, and Nigeria.

Outside Africa, the company is also present in the U.S., Brazil, Pakistan, and the Philippines. It has plans to expand further into Northern Africa, Asia, and South America.

Bill Lenihan, the CEO who joined in 2015 said: “This group of investors bring more than just capital to the equation. They bring strategic benefit to this company and awareness that is over and above the capital. And importantly, this is the group that demonstrated their confidence and desire to really solve what is a global problem.”

He added: “More than 2.2 billion people in the world lack access to reliable and affordable energy. We needed an energy ladder and a series of products that were all connected in some ways but solve different problems for these 2.2 billion people. So we then started to grow and provide more power in these systems.”

Michael Olutayo

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