2030 Finance | August 1, 2018

Zonful secures backing from Persistent to extend off-grid solar in Zimbabwe

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, August 1 – The Harare, Zimbabwe-based company sells pay-as-you-go solar home systems for the majority of Zimbabwe’s 15.6 million citizens who live off the grid. Three-quarters of the country’s 11 million rural citizens don’t have electricity and spend 25% of their income on kerosene and mobile phone charging.

Zonful has installed 5,000 systems in Zimbabwe since launching in 2014. The startup secured early implementation support though a local government partnership in the central Mhondoro-Ngezi district and financial support to the tune of $4 million from Kiva. It is looking to reach 25,000 customers by the end of the year.

Persistent has invested an undisclosed amount of capital in Zonful and will also provide technical assistance.

Persistent is a spinoff of non-profit impact lender E+Co., which ran into trouble with its loan portfolio and ultimately had to be restructured. Persistent was created in 2012 as a for-profit enterprise for E+Co.’s roughly $5 million Africa portfolio.