Husk Power Systems has secured an equity and debt investment worth more than US$100 million to supercharge the growth of community solar minigrids in rural sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The company is a finalist in the 2023 Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa, having first won an Ashden Award more than a decade ago. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced next month (14 November).
In Sub-Saharan Africa, solar minigrids are bringing clean power to communities that won’t see main grid connection for many years, if ever. The ambitious Sunshot Initative, a brainchild of Husk Power Systems (Husk), aims to benefit 7.7million people across the continent within five years.
The first Sunshot minigrids are already operational in Nigeria’s Nasarawa State. These are backed with support for local small businesses, like loans for new productive machines and appliances that help entrepreneurs to launch or grow their enterprise.
This ensures lasting demand for power, which helps to lower the price paid by consumers, a crucial strength of Husk’s work. The company’s ability to quickly and efficiently roll out its minigrids and services to new communities also keeps costs down.
Dr Stephen Hall, Head of Awards at climate solutions charity Ashden, said:
“Husk first received an Ashden Award in 2011 for its work bringing clean energy to 180,000 rice farmers in Eastern India. Just over a decade later, it’s incredible to see Husk massively power up their growth – with their aim to add more than 1,400 new minigrids with a projected 300,000 new connections over the next five years. Husk are demonstrating what’s possible when clean energy pioneers get the backing they need.
“This investment – the largest-ever equity raise in the mini-grid industry – is incredibly exciting, and such good news for communities and the climate. It’s a huge indication that the investment community have realised the power of community-based clean energy. It will enable the benefits of solar mini-grids to change the lives of people throughout Africa and Asia – something that we look forward to celebrating when they take part in the Ashden Awards in London in November.”
The Ashden Awards are being celebrated on Tues 14 Nov, 6.30pm GMT in London and online. The 2023 Ashden Awards: London Ceremony + live online viewing – Ashden Climate Solutions