Solar lamps firm d.light raises $10.5 million from Norfund, Shell Foundation

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US-based d.light, which sells solar-powered lamps in villages with unreliable or no electricity connections, has raised $10.5 million, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The company raised $5 million in equity from new investor Norfund, as well as $5.5 million in grant funding from Beyond the Grid and Shell Foundation. Norfund is Norway’s state-owned investment fund mandated to develop sustainable enterprises in developing countries.

Founded in 2007 as a for-profit social enterprise, d.light manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products designed to serve more than 2 billion people globally without access to reliable electricity. Through five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, Southeast Asia and the US, d.light has impacted over 65 million lives with its products.

d.light has sold more than 15 million solar light and power products in 62 countries, the company said. The latest fund-raising comes on the heels of two previous rounds in November and September last year, wherein d.light raised $7.5 million and $22.5 million, respectively. Other investors in the company include KawiSafi Ventures Fund, Energy Access Ventures, NewQuest Capital Partners and Omidyar Network.

The new investment will help expand its operations and bring clean off-grid power to low-income families in Africa and Asia, using Pay-as-you-Go financing solutions, which work like prepaid mobile phone connections.

“Access to energy is a key input for development, and we believe energy mix for the foreseeable future also will include off-grid solutions, in particular for rural households and businesses. As the leading provider of off-grid solutions in emerging markets, d.light is a good addition to our energy portfolio, mostly consisting of utility scale projects connected to the grid,” said Mark Davis, head of clean energy investments at Norfund.

The San Francisco-based firm, for which India is the biggest market, plans to use the funds to expand its distribution network, financing solutions and product portfolio.

 

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