Asian and African off-grid utility company Husk Power Systems has announced a US$20 million equity investment that includes Shell Technology Ventures to accelerate its growth in Tanzania and India.
The round also features Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d'Energies, ENGIE group's impact investment fund.
Husk designs, builds, owns and operates one of the world's lowest-cost hybrid power plant and distribution networks in India and Tanzania, and has developed a proprietary system by combining and synchronising solar PV, biomass gasification system and batteries to deliver highly reliable, 24x7 power.
The US$20 million investment will be used to help the company grow rapidly over the next four years, with Husk envisioning adding over 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania, deploying 15 MW of 100% renewable power plant assets that would eliminate 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. These mini-grids will serve over 100,000 customers.
"Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident of achieving our vision of becoming the world's largest rural utility company providing 24/7, 100 percent renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive and sustainable development in growth markets," said 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".
Brian Davis, vice president for integrated energy solutions for new energies at Shell, said the company saw Husk as a leading player providing reliable and affordable energy to off-grid and weak-grid communities in India and Africa.
"We believe they have a very credible business model. 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 said.
Gerth Svensson, CEO of Swedfund, said 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. We are very pleased to be part of Husk's expansion, where our long-term capital and extensive experience of evolving sustainable businesses will give multiple effects for the whole society," he said.