Off-Grid Solar Solutions Provider Zola Electric Secures $20 Million Debt Financing

The funding will help bring reliable solar power to an additional 25,000 customers in four African countries


ZOLA Electric, formerly known as Off Grid Electric, an African renewable energy company, has secured $20 million in debt financing from solar-business lender SunFunder. The funding will be utilized to aid its expansion across the African continent.

SunFunder announced the closing of the $20 million debt financing facility with a values-aligned family office for ZOLA Electric.

SunFunder contributed $5 million and the family office acted as the arranger and completed the balance. SunFunder and ZOLA have worked together since 2014 and this financing marks the completion of their third transaction.

“SunFunder’s strength in building scalable relationships is a core aspect of our business and supports the long-term success of the industry,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder CEO. “We are excited about the next chapter in our relationship with ZOLA as we work together towards creating lasting change.”

The new investment will support ZOLA’s continued expansion across Africa and bring affordable, accessible and reliable solar power to an additional 25,000 customers in four countries.

Additionally, it’s estimated that by the time the loan matures in mid-2021, 500,000 households will experience improved energy access. A reduction in the use of kerosene is also expected, which could result in 250,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide output.

Bill Lenihan, co-CEO, ZOLA Electric said, “We are excited to announce the next chapter in our relationship with these two lenders. This investment will support our growth in new and existing markets, our continued support to the communities in which we operate and the ongoing development of our industry-leading product offering.”

In January 2018, Off Grid Electric received $55 million in Series D financing to offer off-grid solar solutions to households in Ghana.

In its latest report, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), in association with Altai Consulting, highlighted the impact and the benefits of off-grid solar home systems (SHS) in improving the quality of life. The sample for research was collected from 2,343 solar home system customers located in urban, suburban, and rural regions of Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Image Credit: USAID in Africa [Public domain]