Husk Power Systems Receives $20 Million Investment
Husk Power Systems, a rural distributed utility company
operating mini-grids in Asia and Africa, has announced a US $20 million
equity investment* by Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedish development
finance institution Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d'Energies,
ENGIE group's impact investment fund. Husk is now positioned to accelerate its
growth to develop what the International Energy Agency estimates as a $190
billion mini-grid market leading up to 2030.
Husk currently designs, builds, owns and operates one of the
world's lowest-cost hybrid power plant and distribution network in India and
Tanzania. Husk developed a proprietary system by combining and synchronizing
solar PV, biomass gasification system and batteries to deliver highly reliable,
24à—7 power. It offers customers a flexible "pay-as-you-go" energy service,
using a mobile-enabled smart metering system. Along with its strategic
investors, Husk is poised to grow rapidly over the next four years and
envisions adding over 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania, deploying 15 MW of
100 percent renewable power plant assets that would eliminate 150,000 tons of
CO2 per year (equivalent to eliminating 56 million liters of diesel per year).
These mini-grids will serve over 100,000 customers.
"Together with our strategic partners, we are now confident
of achieving our vision of becoming the world's largest rural utility company
providing 24/7, 100 percent renewable and affordable power to drive inclusive
and sustainable development in growth markets.", said Manoj Sinha, CEO and
co-founder of Husk Power Systems. "We believe that mini-grids are the most
capital efficient way to help reach 100 percent national electrification goals".
Established in 2008, Husk pioneered an off-grid power
generation and distribution solution to serve rural customers in Bihar, one of
India's most energy deficient states. Husk was the first company to use 100
percent biomass gasification from rice husks to generate electricity for
households and small businesses. Husk has since evolved its business model and
launched the world's first hybrid powered mini-grid system that provides grid
compatible 24/7 and highly reliable power to customers. The systems are scalable,
grid compatible, and secure against theft from power generation to delivery.
Husk's business model places the customer at the center of
their operations, proactively advising them on productive uses of power. The
company delivers reliable and affordable power to customers and has helped
local entrepreneurs launch new businesses "“ including water purification plants
and small manufacturing shops.
"We see Husk as a leading player providing reliable and
affordable energy to off-grid and weak-grid communities in India and Africa and
we believe they have a very credible business model", said Brian Davis, Vice
President, Integrated Energy Solutions for New Energies at Shell. "We believe
that decentralised solutions will play an important role in providing
productive energy to customers who currently lack reliable power. This
investment is an important step for our Energy Access portfolio and we look
forward to helping the business to scale and reach its growth aspirations".
"Access to reliable electricity drives development and is
essential for job creation, women empowerment and combating poverty. The
private sector plays a central role when electrifying the rural areas of
developing countries. We are very pleased to be part of Husk's expansion, where
our long-term capital and extensive experience of evolving sustainable
businesses will give multiple effects for the whole society", said Gerth
Svensson, CEO of Swedfund.
"The highly efficient and replicable business model of Husk
and its ability to provide productive use, fits perfectly into ENGIE
Rassembleurs d'Energies of promoting sustainable energy for all. We are very
excited to step further into collective decentralized solutions that will
further enhance the social and environmental impact of our portfolio" said Anne
Chassagnette, ENGIE Director of CSR and Vice president of ENGIE Rassembleurs
Note: * This transaction is subject to customary conditions
precedent including regulatory approvals.