Clean Energy | July 25, 2022

D.light raises $50 million in debt as investors warm up (again) to off-grid solar

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, July 25 – D.light, a pioneer in low-cost solar products for off-grid households, secured $50 million in debt financing to extend its product line and consumer financing business in Africa. FMO, Trade and Development Bank and off-grid solar lender Mirova SunFunder invested. The lenders denominated a portion of the capital in local currencies to help make d.light “more resilient to potential shocks,” said FMO’s Marina Pannekeet.

The deal brings d.light’s total raised in 2022 to more than $300 million.

Since launching in 2006, d.light says it has sold 25 million products in 70 countries, including solar lanterns and solar home systems, as well as appliances and smartphones.

Bright spots

It’s taken a decade or more for the off-grid solar market to reach critical mass. The remote, rural and low-tech nature of many off-grid households, particularly in Africa, challenged early pay-as-you-go business models. Some solar providers folded, others pivoted upmarket. D.light, Bboxx and others are offering an expanding range of products and services to existing customers.

Investor interest in off-grid solar resurged last year, after a five-year period of effectively flat investments. This year, Sun King raised $260 million in equity – more than twice the total equity capital committed to pay-as-you-go solar companies in 2021.

Other big deals: d.light raised $238 million in June for  Brighter Life Kenya II, its multi-currency debt facility; M-KOPA raised $75 million, led by Generation Investment Management; and French asset manager Mirova acquired SunFunder.