5 January, 2023 Member article

EDFI ElectriFI lends USD 4.5m to Okra Solar to deploy distributed solar networks for last-mile communities in Nigeria

22 December 2022 – The EU approved a USD 4.5 million working capital facility under the ElectriFI Country Window for Nigeria to provide access to electricity through the mesh-grid technology to mini-grids developers, targeting some 76 000 beneficiaries by the end of 2025. 

Launched in 2016, ARE Member Okra Solar develops mesh-grid technology, composed of their proprietary Okra Pod and sold together with PV panels, battery, and inverters to electrify underserved or unserved communities. The Okra Pod, an innovative device that enables the solar systems installed at each household to communicate and share power through a low voltage transmission cable (creating a so-called mesh-grid) is at the heart of Okra Solar’s value proposition.

The company is now focusing on the highly strategic Nigerian market. The ambition is to deploy multiple pilot projects and energise more than 30 000+ households in Nigeria in the next 2 to three years.

ARE Member EDFI ElectriFI’s investment consists in a revolving working capital facility, designed to bridge the financing gap in the supply chain and help Okra leverage the high demand for their technology, penetrate the Nigerian market further and eventually speed up sustainable electrification.

The technology developed by Okra Solar is transformative. We are proud to contribute to facilitating and accelerating the development of micro- and mini-grids for rural electrification across Nigeria. Given the various awards received by Okra, we are confident that the highly skilled Okra Team will thrive within this complex industry,” explained Maud Watelet, ElectriFI Senior Investment Officer at EDFI MC.

Even with off-grid solutions like mesh-grids being 10 times cheaper than grid extension for hard to reach communities, 80 million people continue to live off-grid in Nigeria. Okra is incredibly excited to work with EDFI ElectriFI to deploy innovative financial tools that will enable local developers to deploy mesh-grids at scale and continue rapidly bringing power to the people,” said Afnan Hannan, Co-founder and CEO, Okra Solar.

The ElectriFI Country Window for Nigeria is developed in partnership with EU Delegations and host governments. It notably contributes to the national electrification strategy, in a Team Europe approach.

The European Union’s support to Okra through the ElectriFI Nigeria Country Window assists the country’s efforts in accelerating energy access to people in underserved and unserved communities. As such, it is at the heart of our partnership with Nigeria, which among others, aims at improving reliable energy access to seize the environmental, social and economic potential of renewable energy,” concluded Inga Stefanowicz, Head of Green and Digital Economy at the Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria & ECOWAS.