REPP invests in DRC solar company, Nuru
Investors buy stake in ground-breaking solar company Nuru SASU in DRC
London, 3 March 2023: Nuru SASU (Nuru), the company behind Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s first solar PV metrogrid, is on track to build 13.7MWp of isolated solar-hybrid grids by mid-2024 after securing an initial USD1.5 million from investors in a convertible note round ahead of the close of its Series B funding round.
Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), Proparco, and E3 Capital have each decided to invest USD500k in Nuru, bridging a financing gap to bolster the company’s USD 25 million Series B equity fundraise. The residual funds will be invested by an impressive consortium of international investors at financial close. The raise will help to accelerate the implementation of three nationally strategic late-stage development projects in Goma, Kindu and Bunia, with an aggregate installed capacity of 13.7MWp.
REPP is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and managed by Camco. Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group), and E3 Capital is a leading investor in low-carbon early-stage companies.
According to the World Bank, seulement 19 % of DRC’s population has access to electricity, making the Central African country one of the least electrified in the world. Making things worse, DRC’s grid power generation comes predominantly from hydropower plants, which are coming under mounting pressure due to a lack of maintenance and the increased incidence of drought due to climate change.
Nuru and its investors endeavor to aid in closing the energy access deficit while directly diversifying and decentralising DRC’s energy mix, thereby supporting DRC’s Strategic National Development Plan (SNDP 2019-2023) goal for increased renewable energy capacity.
To date, the company has installed 1.7MWp of operating capacity, providing commercial and industrial (C&I), retail and residential customers in large off-grid towns with reliable, affordable and clean electricity via solar PV installations (with battery storage and diesel back up) and isolated distribution networks.
In addition to the three late-stage development projects, Nuru has a further 35MWp in its current active pipeline, which it expects to be fully commissioned within the next three years. Once both phases have been completed, the company will be providing first-time clean energy access to over 230,000 people as well as approximately 5,300 C&I businesses and social and public institutions, most of whom currently rely on diesel gensets for their power.
British Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Emily Maltman, said: “It is great to see how UK investment in Nuru is helping to accelerate its solar projects in Goma, Kindu and Bunia. The UK is committed to helping improve access to clean energy in DRC – to create jobs, power public services and improve livelihoods.”
Ben Hugues, who heads REPP at Camco, said: “Nuru has the potential to deliver truly widescale and transformational impact in one of the world’s poorest countries.
“REPP’s investment alongside Proparco and E3 Capital will not just lead to greater emissions reductions, but also higher levels of economic activity and improved living standards for hundreds of thousands of people through clean, reliable and affordable energy access. At the same time, it will demonstrate DRC’s improving investment conditions and give confidence to other funders to invest.”
Jonathan Shaw, co-founder and CEO of Nuru, said: “Nuru is thrilled to have partners like REPP, Proparco, and E3 Capital empowering us to deliver life-changing energy access in an extremely challenging environment. REPP, Proparco, and E3 Capital have demonstrated tangible commitments to helping Nuru achieve our mission of delivering reliable, affordable, renewable energy to 5 million people in the DR Congo.”
Notes to Editors
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Nuru, Swahili for “light,” designs, deploys and operates renewable energy powered metrogrids in strategic urban zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nuru was the first company in DRC to deploy a solar mini-grid, built the largest fully off-grid solar hybrid metrogrid in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, and is now seeking to provide 5 million clients with world-class connectivity in the country.
The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), managed by Camco, works to mobilise private sector development activity – and investment – in small to medium-sized projects (typically up to 25MW) in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is supported with funding from the UK’s International Climate Finance through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and, to date, has agreed contracts with 42 renewable energy projects across 18 countries, employing seven different technologies, from SHS and PV mini-grids to onshore wind and run-of-river hydro.
Camco is a specialist climate and impact fund manager, leading the transition in emerging markets. We offer clean, secure investments, pairing the conscience of a development bank with the agility of a private company. Camco is an Accredited Entity of the Green Climate Fund and is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The company has offices in Accra, Auckland, Helsinki, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto.
Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for 45 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education. Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies, whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change. For a World in Common.
About E3 Capital
E3 Capital is a leading investor in low-carbon early-stage companies developing innovative business models that are digitised, decentralised, and decarbonised. E3 Capital has a young and diverse team, committed to the future of the low carbon economy in Africa and the emerging world. With a combined investment experience of 40 years, the company is uniquely positioned to help companies grow and scale, without compromising sustainability. E3 Capital partners with forward-thinking entrepreneurs endeavouring to bridge the gap between climate transition and growth in emerging and frontier markets with energy as the enabler of these products and services.