Oorja Raises $1 Million in Seed Funding for Agri Solar Solutions
The company aims to deploy 121 solar projects, impacting 6,000 low-income households
October 12, 2021
Oorja Development Solutions, a Delhi-based off-grid solar services provider, said it had secured $1 million in seed funding from Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia (SEEAA).
The company will utilize the funding for agri-energy infrastructure projects and expand its operations and team in northern India. The funding will also help the company scale its operations in existing and new markets in India over the next 18 months.
The company aims to expand its consumer base in rural areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It is expected to deploy 121 solar projects concentrated in 22 clusters, impacting up to 6,000 low-income houses by December 2022. These projects will employ 45 local community members and save around 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by December 2022.
The company, backed by Cross Border Growth Capital, aims to empower 10 million farmers globally by 2030 with affordable solar-powered irrigation, milling, and cooling services.
Oorja said its consumers are farmers with a monthly income of less than $100. They save up to 50% by shifting from diesel to solar-powered green energy. The company estimates that users can enhance their farming income by 100% by expanding the number of growing seasons, cultivating new crops, and reducing post-harvest waster of horticultural produce.
The company has also received $180,000 in a grant from Water & Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) and the DOEN Foundation. The grant has been awarded to install 18 agri-energy clusters benefiting over 30,000 farmers. It will also receive technical assistance to scale its innovations and expand its reach among women farmers.
In 2019, Oorja Development Solutions won the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge for its community solar pumping systems implemented in rural India.
Oorja’s innovations are backed by social impact investors like Echoing Green and supported by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
According to Mercom’s 1H and Q2 2021 Solar Funding and M&A Report, in 1H 2021, global VC funding – including venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital – in the solar sector increased 680% to $1.6 billion, compared to $210 million in 1H 2020. In 1H 2021, a total of 85 investors participated in solar funding.
Harsh Shukla is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.