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Off-grid solar energy in Rwanda gains pace

A leading global off-grid solar energy company, BBOXX has successfully concluded a US$20m Series C investment in Rwanda. The company has pioneered a distributed energy platform, comprising data-driven technology and a unique solar home system design to deliver off-grid solar energy on a utility scale.

Established in 2010, the company has provided off-grid electricity to more than 350,000 people in 35 countries around the world. However, the latest round of investment is supported by co-investors MacKinnon, ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, KawiSafi Ventures and Bennett & Company (MKB) as well as existing investors DOEN Foundation, Khosla Impact Fund and Bamboo Finance.

In Kenya and Rwanda, BBOXX owns and operates retail distribution networks and after sales service centres to guarantee an excellent customer service experience for all users. Besides, the company’s investment will support an expanded presence in the company’s existing markets. In the meantime, the company, is currently building its operational headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda where the company has experienced swift growth.

Rwanda’s ambitious goal is to electrifying over 20% of the population with off-grid solar systems. Nevertheless, the nation expects to electrify many households as the Rwandan national grid as BBOXX has positioned itself to serve the gradually growing market.

The investment is also expected to accelerate the provision of licensed BBOXX products and services in other markets, including the creation of three franchises in the West African countries of Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon.

“We are excited about the growth potential for the African off-grid solar market and delighted with BBOXX’s rapid development” said Laure Vincotte, Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies. “We feel that BBOXX’s technology is fully in line with ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies’ objectives of promoting sustainable and scalable energy solutions for all,” he added.

According to Patrick Bennett, VP at MKB, BBOXX is building the next generation of energy services connected, distributed, renewable and focused on customer service. Bennett added that, the company is foreseeing a strong opportunity for BBOXX’s licensed products and services to act as a foundation for a rapidly growing new sector in the global utility market.

Supported by KawiSafi Ventures, a US$100m private equity fund will be directed to focus on the off-grid energy sector in East Africa. Furthermore, BBOXX will be the fund’s first investment.

BBOXX Rwanda Managing Director, Justus Mucyo, stated that, the investment is not only good news for BBOXX Rwanda as the main beneficiary but also for all Rwandans without access to electricity.

The company is also proud to have the world’s largest utility ENGIE supporting them, with the hope of help the business to grow across the country and put BBOXX Rwanda in a position of being the best off-grid solutions provider in the country. Over the next 12months, the company is optimistic to electrify 50,000 households.

In recent years investment in Energy in Africa has increased significantly. Economic analysts say that shortage of energy on the continent has been a major deterrent of development.

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