Husk Power Systems receives $20 million investment from Shell, Swedfund, ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies to scale renewable mini-grid business in Africa and Asia

Monday, January 15, 2018

Press release:

Husk Power Systems, a leading rural distributed utility company operating mini-grids in Asia and Africa, today announced a US $20 million equity investment* by Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, ENGIE group’s impact investment fund. Husk is now positioned to accelerate its growth to develop what the International Energy Agency estimates as a $190 billion mini-grid market leading up to 2030.

Husk currently designs, builds, owns and operates one of the world’s lowest-cost hybrid power plant and distribution network in India and Tanzania. Husk developed a proprietary system by combining and synchronizing solar PV, biomass gasification system and batteries to deliver highly reliable, 24×7 power. It offers customers a flexible “pay-as-you-go” energy service, using a mobile-enabled smart metering system. Along with its strategic investors, Husk is poised to grow rapidly over the next four years and envisions adding over 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania, deploying 15 MW of 100 percent renewable power plant assets that would eliminate 150,000 tons of CO2 per year (equivalent to eliminating 56 million liters of diesel per year). These mini-grids will serve over 100,000 customers.

“Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident of achieving our vision of becoming the world’s largest rural utility company providing 24/7, 100 percent renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive and sustainable development in growth markets.“, said Manoj Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Husk Power Systems. “We believe that mini-grids are the most capital efficient way to help reach 100 percent national electrification goals“.

Established in 2008, Husk pioneered an off-grid power generation and distribution solution to serve rural customers in Bihar, one of India’s most energy deficient states. Husk was the first company to use 100 percent biomass gasification from rice husks to generate electricity for households and small businesses. Husk has since evolved its business model and launched the world’s first hybrid powered mini-grid system that provides grid compatible 24/7 and highly reliable power to customers. The systems are scalable, grid compatible, and secure against theft from power generation to delivery.

Husk’s business model places the customer at the center of their operations, proactively advising them on productive uses of power. The company delivers reliable and affordable power to customers and has helped local entrepreneurs launch new businesses – including water purification plants and small manufacturing shops.

“We see Husk as a leading player providing reliable and affordable energy to off-grid and weak-grid communities in India and Africa and we believe they have a very credible business model“, said Brian Davis, Vice President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell. “We believe that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. This investment is an important step for our Energy Access portfolio and we look forward to helping the business to scale and reach its growth aspirations“.

“Access to reliable electricity drives development and is essential for job creation, women empowerment and combating poverty. The private sector plays a central role when electrifying the rural areas of developing countries. We are very pleased to be part of Husk’s expansion, where our long-term capital and extensive experience of evolving sustainable businesses will give multiple effects for the whole society”, said Gerth Svensson, CEO of Swedfund.

The highly efficient and replicable business model of Husk and its ability to provide productive use, fits perfectly into ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies of promoting sustainable energy for all. We are very excited to step further into collective decentralized solutions that will further enhance the social and environmental impact of our portfolio” said Anne Chassagnette, ENGIE Director of CSR and Vice president of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies,

Note: * This transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent including regulatory approvals.

Image credit: Husk Power Systems.

impact investing, renewable energy