BBOXX pioneers distributed energy platform

Published by IGIHE
On 5 September 2016 saa 10:52
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Today, BBOXX, a leading global off-grid solar company, successfully closed a $20 million Series C investment. The company has pioneered a distributed energy platform, comprising data-driven technology and a unique solar home system design to deliver off-grid energy on a utility scale. Since 2010, BBOXX has provided off-grid electricity to more than 350,000 people in 35 countries around the world.

This latest round of investment is supported by co-investors MacKinnon, Bennett & Company (MKB), ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies and KawiSafi Ventures, as well as existing investors Khosla Impact Fund, Bamboo Finance and DOEN Foundation.

The investment will support an expanded presence in the company’s existing markets, Kenya and Rwanda, where BBOXX owns and operates retail distribution networks and after sales service centres to guarantee an excellent customer service experience for all users.The investment will also accelerate the provision of licensed BBOXX products and services in other markets, including the creation of three franchises in the West African countries of Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

“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 Rassembleursd’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.

BBOXX is currently building its operational headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda where the company has experienced swift growth. By the end of this year it expects to be electrifying as many households as the Rwandan national grid. With the country’s ambitious goal of electrifying over 20% of the population with off-grid solar systems, BBOXX is well positioned to serve this quickly growing market.

“BBOXX is building the next generation of energy services – connected, distributed, renewable and focused on customer service. We see 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” said Patrick Bennett, VP at MKB.

In addition, BBOXX is supported by KawiSafi Ventures, a $100 million private equity fund focused on the off-grid energy sector in East Africa. BBOXX will be the fund’s first investment.

“We have built an innovative, data-powered technology platform for the next generation of distributed utility companies,” said CEO Mansoor Hamayun. “We are thrilled to have ENGIE Rassembleursd’Energies, KawiSafi Ventures and MKB as our lead investors – it will bring credibility to our industry and much needed scale. We are already deploying systems at the fastest rate in East Africa, at 10kWp of solar per day, and I am excited that we will continue to grow quickly over the next few years.

Justus Mucyo –Managing Director BBOXX Rwanda

1.Why has BBOXX chosen to invest in Rwanda?

Our Investors strongly believe that Rwanda can lead the world in off-grid electrification - both in technology and policy.They are not only investing in money to deploy solar home systems but also intend to use Rwanda as the center to Manage BBOXX Operations on the African continent.

2.What does this investment mean to Rwandans?

It means:

So far BBOXX has already invested 5M USD in Rwandan market. 10M USD of this investment will be used in the Rwandan business to expand our operations in the country. With this, Over 50,000 households will be electrified in the next 12 months and a further 100,000 before end of 2017

• We will open more outlets country wide to add to our existing network of 20 retail shops

3. How is BBOXX helping to alleviate the problem of unemployment in Rwanda?

BBOXX has created employment by creating over 200 jobs in the past 2 years.

BBOXX has also indirectly created employment for a further 300 people through our agency network. Over 90% of our workforce is youth.

4.What are the future plans?

We intend to be the leader in the Rwandan off-grid market by end of 2016. Our intention is to be present in every district in Rwanda by the end of this year. We’ll ensure that Rwandans in every corner of the country can easily access our services. Our distribution model includes retail outlets in remote areas which helps us to get products closer people.This is a bit unique to us unlike other player who use a centralized model to distribute systems to customers.

5.What’s BBOXX role in the assisting Government to achieve electrification targets

Rwanda wants to connect 500,000 households by 20117-2018. We are working together with EDCL and Ministry of Infrastructure. We are targeting to connect 40% of the households using BBOXX solar home systems

6.How sustainable is solar energy?

At BBOXX, we offer an on-grid experience in an off-grid setting. What this is means is that the same services (or even better) from the grid connection, you can get with Solar. People are not very concerned about what’s on the roof, whether it’s a solar panel or a grid cable. They are more interested in what they use it for and this could be lighting, phone charging, TV, fan and how much it costs them. The challenge for Solar companies is to prove that they can provide this level of service. Otherwise it is as good as any other source., we have a lot of people connected to the grid contacting, but our main focus at the moment is rural electrification We are however in the process of testing solar home systems suitable for modern urban settings.