Solar system provider Sun King closes US$260m funding round to accelerate rural electrification

AFRICA – Sun King, a solar home systems provider, has closed a US$260 million funding round to expand its operations in Asia and Africa.

The funding raised from several investors will help accelerate rural electrification in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

This is one of the largest deals in the solar home systems segment in the world, and in Africa in particular.

The Series D fundraising was led by BeyondNetZero, the climate investment arm of General Atlantic, a growth capital firm, along with the team at M&G Investments and Arch Emerging Markets Partners.

Ekta Partners acted as lead financial advisor on the transaction. For its part, Goodwin Procter provided legal advice to Sun King, and Freshfields advised BeyondNetZero.

According to the company formerly known as Greenlight Planet, the US$260 million financing includes US$100 million in primary investment for further expansion in Africa and Asia.

Despite the addition of new investors, Sun King founders Patrick Walsh and Anish Thakkar retain control of the voting board of directors.

With this round of funding, Sun King also plans to expand. In Africa, the company primarily distributes solar home systems and other kits such as solar lanterns in countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria.

“Today, Sun King operates the largest direct-to-consumer solar power distribution network, with a growth rate of 150,000 new customers per month. In Kenya, one in five people now use Sun King, and 18 million Kenyans have benefited in 10 years of operation,” says the company, which claims 1,250 employees in Africa and Asia.

“In Nigeria, the company’s user base has tripled in the last year alone. Despite its rapid growth, the company has remained consistently profitable.”

Sun King also plans to expand its product line, including larger solar systems with AC inverters and new products such as cell phones.

Like other suppliers of solar home systems, the company relies on pay-per-use to make its equipment accessible in rural areas where purchasing power is often quite low in sub-Saharan Africa.

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