10 March, 2023 Member article

Investors buy stake in ground-breaking solar company Nuru SASU in DRC

London, 3 March 2023 – Nuru SASU (Nuru), the company behind Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s first solar PV metrogrid, is on track to build 13.7MWp of isolated solar-hybrid grids by mid-2024 after securing an initial USD1.5 million from investors in a convertible note round ahead of the close of its Series B funding round.

Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), Proparco and E3 Capital have each decided to invest USD 500k in Nuru, bridging a financing gap to bolster the company’s USD 25 million Series B equity fundraise. The residual funds will be invested by an impressive consortium of international investors at financial close. The raise will help to accelerate the implementation of three nationally strategic late-stage development projects in Goma, Kindu and Bunia, with an aggregate installed capacity of 13.7MWp.

REPP is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and managed by ARE Member Camco. Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group), and E3 Capital is a leading investor in low-carbon early-stage companies.

According to the World Bank, approximately 19% of DRC’s population has access to electricity, making the Central African country one of the least electrified in the world. Making things worse, DRC’s grid power generation comes predominantly from hydropower plants, which are coming under mounting pressure due to a lack of maintenance and the increased incidence of drought due to climate change.

Nuru and its investors endeavor to aid in closing the energy access deficit while directly diversifying and decentralising DRC’s energy mix, thereby supporting DRC’s Strategic National Development Plan (SNDP 2019-2023) goal for increased renewable energy capacity.

To date, the company has installed 1.7 MWp of operating capacity, providing commercial and industrial (C&I), retail and residential customers in large off-grid towns with reliable, affordable and clean electricity via solar PV installations (with battery storage and diesel back up) and isolated distribution networks.

In addition to the three late-stage development projects, Nuru has a further 35 MWp in its current active pipeline, which it expects to be fully commissioned within the next three years. Once both phases have been completed, the company will be providing first-time clean energy access to over 230,000 people as well as approximately 5,300 C&I businesses and social and public institutions, most of whom currently rely on diesel gensets for their power.

British Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Emily Maltman, said: “It is great to see how UK investment in Nuru is helping to accelerate its solar projects in Goma, Kindu and Bunia. The UK is committed to helping improve access to clean energy in DRC – to create jobs, power public services and improve livelihoods.”

Ben Hugues, who heads REPP at Camco, said: “Nuru has the potential to deliver truly widescale and transformational impact in one of the world’s poorest countries.

“REPP’s investment alongside Proparco and E3 Capital will not just lead to greater emissions reductions, but also higher levels of economic activity and improved living standards for hundreds of thousands of people through clean, reliable and affordable energy access. At the same time, it will demonstrate DRC’s improving investment conditions and give confidence to other funders to invest.”

Jonathan Shaw, co-founder and CEO of Nuru, said: “Nuru is thrilled to have partners like REPP, Proparco, and E3 Capital empowering us to deliver life-changing energy access in an extremely challenging environment. REPP, Proparco, and E3 Capital have demonstrated tangible commitments to helping Nuru achieve our mission of delivering reliable, affordable, renewable energy to 5 million people in the DR Congo.”