OPIC and Greenlight Planet Partner to Expand Off-Grid Energy Access in the Developing World
February 24, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, signed an agreement with Greenlight Planet to finalize $5 million in OPIC financing to support the scaling up of Greenlight Planet, Inc, a provider of affordable off-grid solar energy systems to homes and businesses across the developing world. Greenlight Planet’s global development starts with a passion for delivering clean, affordable energy to underserved communities, paired with a sustainable business and distribution strategy. Today, they impact 15 million users across 40+ countries.
Greenlight Planet, with its products branded as Sun KingTM, provides high quality affordable solar lighting and phone charging devices to populations living off the electric grid in emerging markets throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. With this OPIC growth financing, Greenlight Planet will expand its global distribution network in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
“We’re building the world’s largest rooftop solar consumer base in emerging markets and are delighted to have OPIC’s expertise on-board. This financing enables us to massively expand distribution globally and commercialize a much demanded pay-as-you-go solution by our consumers,” says Anish Thakkar, Greenlight Planet’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We are targeting an aggressive penetration of 30% of the off-grid households by 2020.”
“The expansion of off-grid energy solutions at scale is crucial to bring connectivity, opportunity, and security to populations that live away from the grid,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “Greenlight Planet’s strategy draws together clear development impact goals with a sound business plan and innovative partnerships to open up wider distribution. I’m looking forward to the results of OPIC’s support to them.”
OPIC’s support to Greenlight Planet is a product of the Portfolio for Impact, an OPIC financing innovation designed to support highly-developmental impact investment projects that, due to size and structure, would otherwise face difficulty in obtaining financing.
Founded in 2007, Greenlight Planet is a leading US-based company focused on delivering honest, affordable energy to the world’s 1.2 billion off-grid consumers. The company has sold over 4.5 million of its award-winning Sun King™ solar light and energy devices to off-grid homes in 40 countries—1.8 million of these devices sold in the last twelve months. Today, Greenlight Planet has 400+ village direct sales agents located across India, Kenya and Uganda and 200+ full-time employees across 11 offices in the United States, Africa, India and China.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. 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, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. 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.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.