EDF buys minority stake in off-grid specialist Bboxx’s Kenyan business

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Image: Bboxx Kenya

Global energy giant EDF has bought a 23% stake in off-grid solar company Bboxx’s Kenyan business.

Bboxx, which specialises in building, financing and operating off-grid solar installations in the African market, is partnering with EDF to expand its footprint in Kenya by capitalising on the energy group’s commercial resources and financial clout. Kenya is already Bboxx’s largest market, according to the company, and has been operating there since 2011.

Bboxx’s solar systems are eligible for mobile, pay-as-you-go payments, and they allow customers to power domestic appliances, such as TVs, radios, fans and mobile telephone chargers.

The company said in a statement that Kenya poses a “major growth opportunity”, owing to a shift in government policy towards creating more decentralised systems that power rural communities without access to the grid.

Anshul Patel, director of global partnerships at Bboxx, told attendees of the Global Energy Summit this week that “obviously the grid didn’t exist in these areas, and the grid in the case of many African countries, many Asian countries is not going to economically exist in these areas for a long time to come.”

“What you’ve seen over the last 10 years or so is a huge shift from having this pro grid extension policy to say we actually need many grids and smaller solutions that actually address a community problem. At the same time, we need to recognise that solar home systems are actually going right out to the last mile, where neither of these other two solutions make economic sense,” he said. “This is becoming an increasing part of government’s policy.”

The company aims to invest in opening more shops in Kenya as part of the partnership to meet growing demand, working alongside its current shareholder African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3), a fund managed by Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).

It comes three years after EDF bought a 50% shareholding in Bboxx’s operations in Togo, where the company went on to install a wide-ranging off-grid system that distributed electricity to a rural village supplied by PV-generated power. The project’s launch was inaugurated by Togo’s President, Faure Gnassingbé, in 2019.

Bboxx’s co-founder and chief executive, Mansoor Hamayun, said that the decision to create another partnership with EDF in Kenya “demonstrates our commitment to scale and expand access to essential off-grid solar energy.”

By forging strategic ownership deals with global power companies, Hamayun said his former startup can gain access to and deploy “substantial investment” to support climate goals. The partnership will aim to recruit 2 million solar home system customers in Kenya by 2025.

“Despite the COVID-19 environment, this announcement underlines the robustness of our business model and confidence in our tools to build back better. We look forward to growing together and developing new partnership opportunities to unlock potential and transform millions of lives.”

EDF has spent the past five years building up its presence in Africa’s developing renewables sector. It formed a partnership with Off Grid Electric to install PV systems in the Ivory Coast in 2016, and has gone on to build a presence in Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia.

Valerie Levkov, senior vice president of EDF’s Africa, Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Division, said the company is “excited to build on our existing partnership with Bboxx” and further scale up its off-grid operations in Africa.

“We take pride in creating synergies between our various partners in Kenya in support of the country’s growth. Our expansion on the Kenyan market is part of our CAP 2030 strategic goal of tripling our activities at the international level.”

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
October 22, 2021
Average winning solar bids in Spain’s renewables auction this week came in above those for wind as interest among PV bidders faltered against a backdrop of rising equipment costs and regulatory uncertainty.
October 21, 2021
Distributed generation is the future of solar PV in China, with 48GW expected to be deployed next year in the country, according to Frank Haugwitz, director of Europe Asia Clean Energy Advisory Company
PV Tech Premium
October 21, 2021
Chinese power restrictions are likely to change in Q1 next year and will consider the power necessity and industrial demand of certain regions. Nonetheless, polysilicon prices will remain high well into next year and could rise even further.  And, distributed solar is the future of solar PV generation in China.
PV Tech Premium
October 14, 2021
China Silicon Industry, the country’s trade association for the nonferrous metals industry, has warned that pricing for polysilicon chips has soared 13.2% to highs of RMB273/kg (US$42.42/kg), placing further pricing pressure on the solar industry.
October 8, 2021
The US needs to deploy a minimum of 103GW of distributed solar and 137GW of distributed energy storage by 2030 to achieve President Biden’s climate goals at the lowest cost, according to a new report by Local Solar for All.
September 28, 2021
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched an AU$50 million (US$36 million) programme to support microgrid pilot projects and improve the reliability of electricity supply across regional Australia.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021