An Indian owned start-up, Husk Power Systems, is raising about $100 million in funding to scale up its Nigerian operations.
As a part of its commitment to the UN energy compact, Husk would invest a majority of the funds into increasing its number of mini solar grids in Nigeria from 6 to 500 over the next 5 years.
The energy company led by Manoj Sinha says it aims to help Nigeria partake in the global effort to accelerate the uptake of carbon-free electricity, and this can only be achieved by ridding the country of its dependency on fossil fuel generators.
The company has also set an ambitious goal of installing at least 5,000 mini-grids by 2030 and in the process making 1 million connections — half of which will be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Husk is committed to powering households, but our focus is first and foremost on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and public institutions like health clinics and schools. MSMEs are the engine of economies in Africa, and powering existing small businesses and encouraging the formation of new MSMEs helps create the type of economic growth and social benefit that carries over to households by creating more opportunity and more jobs,” the company’s CEO and co-founder Manoj Sinha, told TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Mini-Grid Regulation (2016) stipulates the transfer of assets and financial compensation for mini-grid operators in cases where the national grid finally connects the regions where private mini-grids are operational. This regulation improves operations for mini-grid companies like Husk.
Husk like many other solar energy companies would be participating in the Nigeria Electrification Project that would provide performance-based grants, a sort of capital subsidy as part of the country’s effort to solve Nigeria’s chronic power supply issues.
“In terms of policy frameworks and regulation, the states where Husk works in India (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) have supportive policies. And the Nigerian mini-grid policy is based on those policies, with additional improvements. As a result, Nigeria is seen to have the most conducive policy in sub-Saharan Africa at the moment, which also includes their Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), a program administered by the Rural Electrification Agency and funded by the World Bank to provide a capital subsidy to mini-grid developers and accelerate market development,” said Sinha.
The company plans to have additional technical and business model innovations, and the use of AI and IoT to remotely manage its fleet. Image Credits: Husk Power Systems