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Husk to utilise new funding to expand solar minigrids in Africa

The funding is the largest-ever equity raise in the minigrid industry according to Husk. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Husk Power Systems (Husk) has closed US$43mn in Series D funding, helping it to further electrify communities in rural sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia with an AI-enabled platform of renewable energy services

Since raising initial equity funding in 2018, Husk has grown its fleet 20-fold to more than 200 solar hybrid minigrids across two continents, impacting 500,000 people in the process and serving more than 10,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It also became the first minigrid company to become EBITDA positive in Q4 2022, and has built a team of more than 500 employees.

Amit Narayan, ex-CEO, AutoGrid Systems & Husk board member, said, “Husk Power has shown how AI can be a catalyst for providing planetary-scale impact and sustainable growth. Husk’s intelligent platform allows automated management of rural minigrids operating under extreme environmental and cost constraints, and it has achieved what many felt was impossible by providing access to 24×7 reliable power to some of the most underserved communities in a profitable manner. I look forward to the next phase of this incredible story.”

The new equity funding includes new investors STOA Infra & Energy, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Proparco, as well as existing investors Shell Ventures, Swedfund and FMO. Husk has also leveraged the Series D equity to secure an additional US$60mn in debt from finance institutions including the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the International Finance Corporation.

This will be utilised to grow Husk’s fleet eight-times by adding more than 1,400 new minigrids with a projected 300,000 new connections (one-third of them MSMEs) over the next five years. This will avoid an expected 350,000 tonnes of CO2. 

The company is also targeting building its team and expanding into new markets across Africa and Asia. The Africa Sunshot initiative will mobilise at least US$500mn for Husk to scale to 2,500 minigrids in six countries within five years. Two-thirds of the newly announced financing will go toward SSA.

Manoj Sinha, Husk co-founder and CEO, commented, “We have successfully created and scaled a rural energy platform that is life-changing for our communities from day one. We’re excited to put this new equity and debt to work to supercharge Husk’s growth and unlock the full economic and social potential for a generation of rural Africans and Asians, especially women and youth, that would otherwise be left behind.”

Brad Mattson, Husk board chairman, remarked, “The minigrid industry needs at least a 10X increase in its rate of deployment to achieve the World Bank’s target of 200,000 minigrids by 2030. Husk is now positioned to lead that growth and help to create an industrial revolution in rural Africa and Asia.”

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