Total acquires stake in Off Grid Electric and Powerhive


Off Grid Electric and Powerhive specialise in off-grid solar solutions for rural communities. Facebook: Off Grid Electric

French energy company Total has acquired interest in two solar companies, Off Grid Electric and Powerhive, via its venture capital fund Total Energy Ventures (TEV), which invests in start-ups.

Both solar companies specialise in off-grid solar solutions in rural areas of emerging markets, particularly in Africa, and their services are based on mobile money payments.

Off Grid Electric, which is located in Arusha, Tanzania, and San Francisco, California, develops distributed generation solar systems for the home and battery-based energy storage systems to power LED lights and other electronic appliances such as mobile phone chargers. A Total statement said that Off Grid Electric currently provides lighting to more than 10,000 new customers on a monthly basis and expects to reach a million customers in Tanzania by 2017.

Powerhive, which is also based in San Francisco, develops and operates microgrids including energy storage and local distribution. It already supplies electricity to several hundred homes and businesses in various off-grid rural locations. Last year, Powerhive launched its first commercial-scale project of around 100 microgrids to supply electricity to 90,000 households in Western Kenya.

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and chief executive of Total, said: “Off Grid Electric and Powerhive’s systems combine solar power, energy storage and digital customer relationship management, paving the way for distributed energy management models.

“Their systems are expected to speed up electrification in Africa and could be as much a game changer as mobile phones were in their field. Off Grid Electric recently won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in recognition of its efficient, apposite solutions.”

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