ImpactAlpha, September 15 – Netherlands-based Lumos sells solar systems to West African businesses and households that lack reliable access to energy. Lumos sells 80-watt and 160-watt systems on a pay-as-you-go basis through partnerships with mobile operators like MTN.
An investment from the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. aims to help Lumos produce and sell 160,000 new systems. The financing follows a July investment from Dutch development bank FMO that supported Lumos’ expansion in Cote d’Ivoire.
The company serves more than 100,000 customers in Nigeria. Half of Lumos’ customers live below the poverty line, according to an impact study by U.K.-based CDC. Nearly 80% depend on generators for power because they’re connected to unreliable energy grids; their Lumos system payments are lower than the roughly $9 per week they would pay for utility service and generator fuel. More than 90% are first-time solar product users and 19% use their solar systems to generate additional income.
Other recent investments in African solar energy companies: French development finance institution Proparco, EDFI ElectriFI and Energy Access Ventures invested in Solarise, which offers solar project financing for industrial and commercial businesses in East and Southern Africa. Broadreach Energy, which builds and operates everything from rooftop solar installations to utility-scale solar farms across Africa, raised $25 million from private equity firm Metier.