Simpa Networks raises $4M to provide solar solutions in rural India

US-based Simpa Networks Inc, which operates as Simpa Energy India Pvt Ltd in the country, has raised $4 million debt funding to scale up the clean electricity solutions in rural India, as per a release.

The funding has been raised by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s development finance institution, and GDF Suez through their Rassembleurs d’Energies programme. It will enable Simpa to reach 200,000 people with clean, reliable electricity services.

"Rural India is rising, and we are creating new opportunities to invest in its growth. This new debt investment, the first of its kind in India, will help us scale our for-profit solution to the problem of energy poverty. It validates our model and proves a pathway to mobilise commercial debt capital at scale. Clean electricity for rising rural India is an investible proposition," said Paul Needham, president and co-founder of Simpa Networks.

Bangalore-based Simpa, which sells solar-as-a-service to energy-poor households and micro-enterprises in rural India, is backed by development finance institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, USAID-DIV, IFC, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Khosla Impact Fund (Vinod Khosla), Sorenson Impact Foundation (Jim & Krista Sorenson), Schneider Electric, GDF Suez Rassembleurs d’Energies, the HILTI Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, Village Capital and more.

"Simpa’s inclusive approach to spreading energy access makes it an ideal partner for OPIC’s impact-focused development investment strategy. The kind of technological leap Simpa and like-minded innovators are achieving proves that off-grid, clean energy in emerging markets is not merely viable, but a true opportunity both financially and environmentally," said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s president and CEO.

“Globally, more than one billion people lack access to modern electricity. We invest in for-profit solutions that can scale to meet this challenge. In Simpa, we have an opportunity to support a growth stage company scale up its impact to reach tens of thousands more people with affordable, clean, renewable electricity," said Jérôme Broutin, CFO at GDF Suez Rassembleurs d’Energies.

Established as an agency of the US Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis, mobilises private capital to help solve critical development challenges.

GDF SUEZ SA is a French multinational electric utility company, operates in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas and renewable energy.

Simpa’s customers make a small initial payment to get a solar electric system installed at their home or business. Customers then purchase energy days using a prepaid or pay-as-you-go mobile payment system. Upon completion of the contract, they can take ownership of their systems, getting clean electricity free and clear. The model is enabled by Simpa’s patented technology platform.

Since its inception, the firm has sold over 770,000 energy days, delivered over 65 MWh, created over 2,800 full and part-time jobs in rural India, and saved over 75 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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