Shell, Swedfund, ENGIE Invest $20 Million In Rural Distributed Renewables In Asia & Africa

World | Renewable Energy

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Husk Power Systems, a leading rural distributed utility company which operates mini-grids in Asia and Africa, has announced the closure of a $20 million equity investment from Shell, Swedfund, and ENGIE, which will serve to accelerate the company’s growth in the global mini-grid market.

Established in 2007, Husk Power Systems is known for designing, building, and operating one of the world’s lowest-cost hybrid power plant and distribution networks in India and Tanzania, and has developed a proprietary system by combining and synchronizing solar PV, biomass gasification system, and batteries, which provides highly reliable and 24/7 power in areas where traditional power systems either don’t exist or are ineffective. Husk also provides its customers with a “pay-as-you-go” system using mobile smart monitoring services.

“Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident of achieving our vision of becoming the world’s largest rural utility company providing 24/7, 100% renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive and sustainable development in growth markets,” said Manoj Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Husk Power Systems. “We believe that mini-grids are the most capital efficient way to help reach 100% national electrification goals.”

The $20 million equity investment announced this week was joined by Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International, and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies — ENGIE group’s impact investment fund.

“We see Husk as a leading player providing reliable and affordable energy to off-grid and weak-grid communities in India and Africa and we believe they have a very credible business model,” 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 to scale and reach its growth aspirations.”

“Access to reliable electricity drives development and is essential for job creation, women empowerment and combating poverty,” added Gerth Svensson, CEO of Swedfund. “The private sector plays a central role when electrifying the rural areas of developing countries. We are very pleased to be part of Husk’s expansion, where our long-term capital and extensive experience of evolving sustainable businesses will give multiple effects for the whole society.”

“The highly efficient and replicable business model of Husk and its ability to provide productive use, fits perfectly into ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies of promoting sustainable energy for all,” concluded Anne Chassagnette, ENGIE Director of CSR and Vice president of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies. “We are very excited to step further into collective decentralized solutions that will further enhance the social and environmental impact of our portfolio.”