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Simpa Networks Announces Commercial Debt Financing to Scale Up Its Clean Electricity Solutions in Rural India


December 17, 2014

  • $4 million from OPIC and GDF Suez provides financing to electrify 50,000+ households

BANGALORE – Simpa, which sells solar-as-a-service to energy-poor households and micro-enterprises in rural India, today announced that it has completed a $4 million debt financing round. The financing has been provided by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and by GDF Suez through their Rassembleurs d’Energies program.

An estimated 400 million people in rural India still do not have access to an electricity grid. Distributed solar-powered electricity systems are dramatically improving the quality of life for energy-poor families and promoting economic activity by enabling small businesses to extend their working days.

“Rural India is rising, and we are creating new opportunities to invest in its growth”, said Paul Needham, President and Co-Founder of Simpa Networks. “This new debt investment, the first of its kind in India, will help us scale our for-profit solution to the problem of energy-poverty. It validates our model and proves a pathway to mobilize commercial debt capital at scale. Clean electricity for rising rural India is an investable proposition.”

Simpa operates in rural Uttar Pradesh, an Indian state with severe power deficit. The new debt facility will enable Simpa to reach 200,000 people with clean, reliable electricity services.

“Simpa’s inclusive approach to spreading energy access makes them an ideal partner for OPIC’s impact-focused development investment strategy,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The kind of technological leap Simpa and like-minded innovators are achieving proves that off-grid, clean energy in emerging markets is not merely viable, but a true opportunity both financially and environmentally.”

“Globally, more than one billion people lack access to modern electricity. We invest in forprofit solutions that can scale to meet this challenge,” said Jérôme Broutin, CFO at GDF Suez Rassembleurs d’Energies. “In Simpa, we have an opportunity to support a growth stage company scale up its impact to reach tens of thousands more people with affordable, clean, renewable electricity.”
 

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About OPIC
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, supporting almost $77 billion in U.S. exports and more than 278,000 American jobs.

About Simpa Networks
Simpa Networks, operating in India as Simpa Energy India, pioneered the solar-as-a-service business model. Simpa customers make a small initial payment to get a solar electric system installed at their home or business. Customers then purchase “energy days” using a prepaid or pay-as-you-go mobile payment system. Upon completion of the contract, customers can take ownership of their systems, getting clean electricity free and clear. The model is enabled by Simpa’s patented technology platform. Since its inception, Simpa has sold over 770,000 energy days, delivered over 65 MWh, created over 2,800 full and part time jobs in rural India, and saved over 75 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Simpa is backed by notable international impact investors and development finance institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, USAID-DIV, IFC, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Khosla Impact Fund (Vinod Khosla), Sorenson Impact Foundation (Jim & Krista Sorenson), Schneider Electric, GDF Suez Rassembleurs d’Energies, the HILTI Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, Village Capital and more.