May 5

Too Much, Too Soon? The Debate over Impact Investing and Growth in Off-Grid Energy

The impact investing firm Ceniarth has been actively engaged in the energy access sector since 2014, but it has begun reducing its exposure to the venture-backed, solar home system segment of this market. Authors at the firm wrote a post explaining the reasons for this move, which sparked critical responses from both the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and the impact investing firm Persistent Energy Capital in the weeks that followed. Authors at the IFC also added insights and data to the discussion, counseling developers and investors alike to take a fresh look at the effect of rapid growth rates, high levels of consumer financing and operational efficiency on the liquidity of solar home system providers. We’ve gathered these posts together into a brief series, which covers the many sides of this surprisingly heated debate.