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Husk Power Systems plans to invest part of its US $20 million equity investment in renewable energy plants across rural Tanzania.
The investment will be rolled out over the course of the next four years and will see Tanzania get some 150 mini-grid power plants for rural communities that currently survive on expensive and dirty energy like kerosene.
The plants operate in a unique clean and safe system by combining solar PV, biomass gasification system and batteries to deliver highly reliable power. Further still, the innovative approach has a mobile payment system that allows clients to “pay-as-you-go” using their mobile phones.
“Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident of achieving our vision of becoming the world’s largest rural utility company providing 100 percent renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive and sustainable development in growth markets,.“ comments Manoj Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Husk Power Systems.
“We believe that mini-grids are the most capital efficient way to help reach 100 percent national electrification goals,” he told media.
Established in 2008, Husk pioneered an off-grid power generation and distribution solution to serve rural customers in Bihar, one of India’s most energy deficient states.
Husk was the first company to use 100 percent biomass gasification from rice husks to generate electricity for households and small businesses. Husk has since evolved its business model and launched the world’s first hybrid powered mini-grid system that provides grid compatible and highly reliable power to customers.
The systems are scalable, grid compatible, and secure against theft from power generation to delivery.
The company delivers reliable and affordable power to customers and has helped local entrepreneurs launch new businesses – including water purification plants and small manufacturing shops.
The USD20m funding is with strategic investors with Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies. With the inked pact, Husk is now positioned to accelerate its growth to develop what the International Energy Agency estimates as a $190 billion mini-grid market leading up to 2030.
“We see Husk as a leading player providing reliable and affordable energy to off-grid and weak-grid communities in India and Africa and we believe they have a very credible business model“, said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell.
“We believe that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. This investment is an important step for our Energy Access portfolio and we look forward to helping the business to scale and reach its growth aspirations,” he added.
“Access to reliable electricity drives development and is essential for job creation, women empowerment and combating poverty. The private sector plays a central role when electrifying the rural areas of developing countries,” said Gerth Svensson, CEO of Swedfund.
“The highly efficient and replicable business model of Husk and its ability to provide productive use, fits perfectly into our goal of promoting sustainable energy for all. We are very excited to step further into collective decentralized solutions that will further enhance the social and environmental impact of our portfolio,” said Anne Chassagnette, ENGIE Director of CSR and Vice president of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies.