22 July, 2022 Member article

EDFI ElectriFI and Oikocredit to support Solar Panda’s off-grid solar power for low-income Kenyan households

6 July 2022 – The EU-funded and ARE Member Electrification Financing Initiative (EDFI ElectriFI) and social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit have agreed to co-invest US$ 4 million each in Canada-based Solar Panda. Solar Panda designs, manufactures and distributes pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar home systems to low-income communities in Kenya. This new partnership will sustain in-country growth of clean, safe and affordable domestic electricity.

With EDFI ElectriFI’s and Oikocredit’s financing, Solar Panda will use this investment to grow its product offerings, expand its footprint within Kenya (including into traditionally underserved counties) and also set the stage for further expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Over the next seven years, the funding will allow the company to connect over 100,000 households across North and North-East Kenya, the poorest regions of the country. Over time, Solar Panda will have deployed 8.4MW of renewable energy, allowing the avoidance of 400,000+ tons of CO2.

Since 2018, Solar Panda has provided more than 200,000 solar home systems across Kenya from its 37 retail branches, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the sector. It employs more than 300 staff in Kenya and has a network of over 1000 independent sales agents.

“We are excited to partner with leading global impact investors Oikocredit and EDFI ElectriFI and thankful that this funding will help us ramp up our efforts at making electricity access universal” said Andy Keith, founder and CEO of Solar Panda. “I’m very proud of the growth and success our team has been able to achieve over the past 4 years and, with nearly 1 billion people in the world without access to electricity, we feel we are just getting started.  We appreciate that EDFI ElectriFI and Oikocredit have shown such great confidence in our approach to balancing commercial pragmatism with our commitment to customers and look forward to working together.”

The EDFI ElectriFI investment falls under its dedicated window for Kenya, a strategy designed specifically for the country, in close collaboration with local authorities and the EU Delegation.

Lionel Dieu, ElectriFI Senior Investment Officer at EDFI Management Company, said: “We are extremely delighted to become a shareholder of Solar Panda. The company has displayed impressive growth over the last years and demonstrated strong resilience amid COVID. Through this co-investment with Oikocredit, we aim at supporting the company in its next stage of development and realize its full potential. This includes reaching an increasing amount of households with no access to electricity in Kenya underserved counties i.e. Northern regions displaying higher (energy) poverty levels.”

Alexander Remy, Equity Officer at Oikocredit, said: “In a short period of time, Solar Panda has demonstrated its capabilities in designing and selling quality solar home systems needed by many households across Kenya. We are happy with the strong local talent they have assembled and are certain they can continue delivering positive results. As an equity investor in a partner like Solar Panda, we will collaborate and continue directing our efforts to make clean energy accessible and improving the quality of life of thousands more households for the communities we serve”.