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Mitsubishi leads US$50m investment round for off-grid solar ‘utility’ BBOX

BBOXX officially launched its collaboration with Mitsubishi Corporation at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development this week. Image: BBOXX via Facebook.

BBOXX has successfully closed a US$50 million Series D funding round that will see the next generation utility company accelerate its global expansion efforts.

This US$50 million in funding features a substantial investment from the Mitsubishi Corporation, which led the round. The investment will help drive BBOXX’s growth across Africa, where it currently operates in 12 countries, as well as in Asia.

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So far, BBOXX’s efforts of offering pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar energy using mobile money has positively impacted nearly one million people to date, with the company installing 200,000 solar home systems, which are remotely monitored via BBOXX Pulse. According to the company's website, a typical customer in Kenya and Rwanda would be earning between US$100 to US$200 per month, spending US$8 to US$12 of that income on energy products and services such as phone charging, lead acid batteries and kerosene for lighting. BBOX then prices its solar solutions to match existing energy costs and allowing customers to spread the cost over time.  

Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and co-founder of BBOXX, said: “The funding is further evidence of Japanese interest in Africa and in PAYG solar energy globally. Mitsubishi Corporation’s extensive reach, sector specific and technological expertise will help us to reach more people without reliable access to modern utilities and services at even greater scale.

“We look forward to this next phase of growth that will help us to transform more lives, unlock potential and grow our already global footprint by opening up new markets and develop further our product range.”

Mitsubishi’s Power Solution Group currently owns and operates about 6,100 MW of net generation capacity globally, according to numbers from 30 June 2019. Participants in this Series D round include ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, Bamboo Capital Partners, DOEN Participaties and  MacKinnon, Bennett & Company. 

Hamayun added: “Our Series D round is made up of investors spanning three continents and is a testament to how the global community is embracing sustainability. BBOXX provides the technology and the scalability that makes us a tool for development and brings us closer to meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

BBOXX is far from the only off-grid company specializing in the African market that been expanding as of late, as PowerGen Renewable Energy acquired Tanzania-focused mini-grid company Rafiki Power from its parent company, Germany utility giant E.on SE, earlier this month. Rafiki Power’s assets included eight Tanzanian solar-plus-storage mini-grids that serve 950 customers, as well as a project pipeline, the intellectual property of its software, and staff.

Additional reporting by Andy Colthorpe. 

This story first appeared on PV Tech

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