Leading off-grid solar company ARE Member SolarNow today announces its $9 million series-B equity round. This capital allows the Dutch company to scale its distribution in Uganda and Kenya and expand into new markets. Investors include Novastar and Shell.
SolarNow sells and installs high quality customized solar energy solutions capable of supporting income-generating activities, as well as the widest range of electrical appliances available in East African markets, including televisions, fridges and water pumps. The firm’s 55 branches (850 FTE) support an installed base of 25,000 households, schools, clinics and entrepreneurs in Uganda and Kenya. With sales of 1,400 new systems generating revenues in excess of $1m per month, SolarNow is one of the first solar companies in Africa to achieve operational profitability.
“This investment allows us to strengthen our market share in existing markets, and continue our organic growth path into new markets in East and West Africa” says Willem Nolens, SolarNow’s founder and CEO. He adds that “the investment will allow us to design and market more productive appliances, thereby enabling farmers to increase their income”.
Novastar Ventures, based in Nairobi Kenya increased its shareholding during this round. Novastar’s Managing Director Andrew Carruthers explains: “Since we invested three years ago, SolarNow’s management have proven their ability to successfully scale a business model with strong unit economics. We are delighted to see that the company’s rigorous focus on quality and customer satisfaction is proving successful, with over 40% of all new clients being referred by existing clients.”
“We are impressed by SolarNow’s talented and experienced team. They have built a proven business and an exciting modular product offering”, said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell. “We believe that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. This investment is an important step for our Energy Access portfolio and we look forward to helping the business reach its potential.”