Acumen Fund has announced an investment of $1.26 million in SBA Hydro & Renewable Energy (SHREY), which provides hydroelectric power to villages in the Himalayan Belt of northern India. The funds raised by SHREY will be used for financing up to 10 grid-connected 100kW micro-hydro power plants in Himachal Pradesh. Acumen has also announced a follow-on investment of $1 million in d.light design, which designs and distributes affordable lighting and power solutions for low-income households. d.light design now plans to expand its global operations.
New York based Acumen Fund is a non-profit venture fund that invests in businesses that have a social and economic impact. Both of these investments come under Acumen’s energy portfolio. Its other portfolio’s are – health, water and housing.
“Providing access to reliable clean energy increases productivity and household income; it provides health benefits at the individual level by replacing kerosene usage; and it reduces global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Raj Kundra, Director of the Energy Portfolio at Acumen Fund.
SHREY is a sister company of SBA Hydro, a hydro turbine manufacturer for mini- and micro-hydro plants. It will now develop ten mini- and micro-hydro sites in communities with grid access but inadequate power supply. With new funds, SHREY will be able to generate a reliable supply of decentralized power, feeding into the local grid, in inaccessible areas.
d. light design has a series of Solar LED lights with AC charging options, designed as an affordable alternative to replace kerosene lanterns. The product is targeted at at off-grid customers and the products range from $10-$20. d. light has raised funding from five other firms which include DFJ, Nexus Capital and Garage Technology Ventures.
Acumen has also invested $1.6 million in Drishtee, a rural information and communications technology (ICT) network orchestrator that helps local entrepreneurs to set up kiosks that provide a variety of services to villagers for a fee. Acumen also has a joint venture with Hindustan Latex Limited for Lifesprings, a network of Maternity and Child Healthcare hospitals.