Acumen Acquire SolarAid’s Off Grid Energy Research and Impact Division
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Acumen, the global social impact organization, announced today its acquisition of the award-winning Research and Impact division of SolarAid, the international nonprofit and leading impact practitioner in the solar energy sector. In acquiring SolarAid’s research arm, Acumen builds on its decade of investing in off-grid energy, further deepening its understanding of the energy needs of low-income populations while measuring the social impact of newly electrified individuals and households. Acumen began investing in off-grid energy solutions in 2007 and today has the largest portfolio of companies committed to serving the poor.
Since its launch, SolarAid’s extensive research program has collected critical information linking energy access to poverty alleviation. The organization’s commitment to sharing its learning publicly has made its Research and Impact division a world-class resource for researchers, practitioners and funders interested in solar and off-grid energy. This acquisition provides Acumen with access to SolarAid’s extensive databases and research networks in East Africa, and brings SolarAid’s Director of Research and Impact, Kat Harrison, onto Acumen’s staff. Under the direction of Ms. Harrison, SolarAid developed the largest, most comprehensive database on lighting in developing countries, with a particular focus on the impact of small-scale solar lighting in Africa. Kat will build on that work as Acumen’s new Associate Director of Impact.
“There is much we still don’t know about the impact of off-grid energy solutions on the lives of the poor,” said Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer Sasha Dichter. “Even within Acumen’s energy portfolio, it is a challenge to gather robust data on how poor customers are using off-grid energy products, and the long-term impact our energy companies are having in alleviating poverty. With Kat and SolarAid’s research now powering our work, we can start to truly understand how energy is transforming the lives of the poor.”