For those who lack or have unreliable access to the electrical grid, clean and affordable energy solutions such as solar home systems, solar systems for productive use, and biogas digesters can be truly life-changing.
In addition to their transformative effects on individuals and communities, these solutions also play an important role in the fight against climate change. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy solutions can help to mitigate the environmental impacts of energy production and use, addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time.
Investments in clean energy businesses are crucial in supporting the expansion of these solutions to reach even more individuals and communities. By providing financing to these businesses, we enable them to bring clean energy solutions to areas that need it most. The impact of our investments is far-reaching and includes increased access to education, improved health outcomes, and economic development.
New Clean Energy Companies
Two impactful companies in the African clean energy sector started raising financing on Lendahand in 2022:
“The right to safe light” is d.light’s inspiring quest to make reliable power accessible for the poor. What once started as a student project grew into a global leading business, bringing solar energy to more than 125 million of the poorest people in Africa and Asia so far.
“Most of the customers we serve don’t have access to reliable power or financing, and d.light removes those barriers.” - Sam Goldman, founder of d.light
Roam is making waves in the transportation industry in Africa with their innovative electric vehicles. From motorcycles to buses, their products are designed to be both eco-friendly and efficient, offering a much-needed solution to the transportation challenges facing the rapidly growing population in Africa.
By utilizing electric power, Roam's vehicles are not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering air pollution but also helping to make transportation more affordable and accessible.
Reflecting on Adversity
Despite our best efforts to support our portfolio companies, we occasionally experience setbacks in our mission to provide financing to businesses in emerging markets. Like it was the case for Redavia, a provider of productive solar energy solutions to companies in Africa.
Redavia's business model is highly capital-intensive and relies heavily on attracting new investments. Unfortunately, in 2022, Redavia was unable to secure sufficient new equity in a timely manner to cover their operational costs and working capital financing needs. This ultimately led to the to the end of their success story.
As a result, the operational LLC that housed the financed solar panel systems will be sold, and more than half of the outstanding funds will likely have to be written off.
While we are disappointed by this outcome, we remain proud of the impact that Redavia has been able to make through their installed solar farms in Africa. These solar farms have provided clean and affordable energy to many African entrepreneurs, including the Shalimar Flower Farm in Kenya which we had the chance to visit in 2021.
At Lendahand, we understand that investing in emerging markets carries some risk, and we take steps to manage that risk and protect our investors. However, we also recognize that defaults can have a significant adverse impact on our crowd, and we are committed to working with our borrowers to minimize that impact whenever possible.
Read more about late repayments and defaults in the FAQ special with our CFO Daniel van Maanen, click here.
Biogas with Sistema.bio
Sistema.bio is transforming organic waste into biogas and biofertilizers, providing a sustainable solution for clean cooking and addressing multiple challenges. Their biogas digesters help smallholder farmers worldwide to meet domestic energy and biofertilizer needs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
By using biogas instead of toxic kerosene or wood fire to cook, farmer households are also able to improve their health and save on fuel costs. Through their innovative approach, Sistema.bio is creating a positive impact on the environment and improving the lives of smallholder farmers in Mexico and India, who often lack access to clean cooking solutions.
“Clean cooking solutions are crucial for improving health, especially in Africa. During the Clean Cooking Conference in Accra, Ghana, I was pleasantly surprised to see how fast the industry is growing.
But, before scaling up, it is essential to get the product design right. The industry must focus on creating clean cooking stoves that suit the user’s needs and reality to make a positive impact on millions of lives”
Matteo Gilardi -
Investments Manager at Lendahand