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Husk Power raises $100M for African minigrids

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Updated Oct 24, 2023
A solar mini-grid project developed by Husk Power

A solar-powered minigrid project deployed by Husk Power. Photo: Courtesy of Husk Power.

Husk Power, a startup building clean energy minigrids in India and Africa, has raised just over $100 million, including equity and debt.

Why it matters: Minigrids can bring clean electricity to the 3.5 billion people who lack access to reliable electricity, more efficiently and at a lower cost than a traditional centralized power grid.

Details: The Series D round raised $43 million in equity funding led by STOA Infra & Energy, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and Proparco, as well as existing investors Shell Ventures, Swedfund and FMO.

  • It also raised $60 million in debt from groups including the European Investment Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
  • The Colorado-based company plans to raise another $500 million down the road to deploy 2,500 minigrids across four countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Husk Power co-founder and CEO Manoj Sinha tells Axios he has a personal ambition to take the company public in the 2026 and 2027 time frame.

Catch up quick: The startup typically builds minigrids for small and medium-sized businesses using solar panels, lead acid batteries and electrical connections that can power appliances like ceiling fans or TVs.

  • The company also offers a biomass gasification system that can use rice husks as a feedstock to generate electricity, as well as backup diesel generators.
  • Sinha said the company's two subsidiaries, Husk India and Husk Nigeria, became profitable in the fourth quarter of 2022, proving that "minigrids as an asset class are commercially fundable and scalable."

Big picture: Many regional utilities in developing economies are unable to extend centralized power grids to rural users.

  • But companies like Husk Power and d.light are using low-cost solar panels and batteries, enabled by digital technology, to bring clean electricity to off-grid companies and residents.
  • The World Bank says solar minigrids could bring clean electricity to half a billion people by 2030.
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