Nairobi, March 31, 2019 - ARE Member Energy Access Ventures (EAV), an investor in African smart infrastructure startups, is delighted to announce the conclusion of a Series A investment in Kivu Green Energy (KGE), an owner-operator of solar-hybrid minigrids in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). KGE will use the capital to expand operations in Northern Kivu to directly serve commercial and industrial (C&I) off-takers and sell surplus power to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), households and institutions.
The DRC has a weak and geographically limited national grid, which produces just 5 hours of electricity per day. A national electrification rate of just 9% means the majority of individuals and businesses in DRC struggle from insufficient grid access leading to them being heavily reliant upon costly diesel gensets to meet their power needs.
KGE’s solar hybrid mini-grids offer a more reliable, affordable and cleaner electricity alternative to traditional gensets. This solution enables C&I offtakers to improve their operational cost base and productivity, and households to gain better access to electricity. By being the first solar-based minigrid to market in DRC and by leveraging their team’s market and sector expertise, KGE has secured financing, completed deployments and become market leaders.
Emmanuel Beau, co-founder and Investment Manager at EAV, commented: “The DRC is Africa’s largest untapped opportunity when it comes to minigrids because of the country’s weak infrastructure, high energy costs and huge underserved market. KGE has proven its ability to navigate the complex political and economic landscape, and emerge as the leader in DRC’s off-grid energy space. We at EAV have been inspired by KGE’s commitments to tackling this challenging market and see the DRC as a frontier for smart infrastructure in the future.”
Jonathan Shaw, CEO at Kivu Green Energy, noted: “At every step, our relationship with EAV far exceeded our expectations of what engagement with an investor could look like. Their talented team has continuously provided exceptional support as we prepare the company for its next phase of growth. In particular, we are impressed with how deeply EAV understand the challenges and opportunities of working in frontier markets like the DRC. After engaging with their team for some time, we realize that EAV is the ideal partner for us to power our scale-up efforts and embark on energizing the heart of the African continent.”