Southeast Asia-focussed SolarHome, a provider of solar energy for rural off-grid households, is looking at investing up to $25 million in Myanmar over the next five years, Phoo Pyae Pyae Soe, head of communications, said.
It is currently targeting to raise and invest up to $1.5 million in Myanmar in 2018. SolarHome – which also has operations in the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia – has already invested $400,000 in Myanmar.
Founded in 2016, SolarHome is seed funded and venture built by Singapore-based Forum Capital, an investment and strategic advisory firm specialising in venture building and supporting growth companies in developing markets.
It is currently engaged in its pilot project on basic lighting which allows villagers around Pathein and Ayeyarwaddy to purchase solar system through a micro financing scheme.
“For the basic lighting product, we offer our customer with K10,000 down payment and a monthly payment of K9000 for 2 years. After two years, customers will have the ownership. We will provide free installation, and repair with a two year warranty period,” said Soe.
SolarHome uses the microfinance structure, Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG), which allows users to pay a monthly fees comparable to their current expenditure on legacy energy sources.
Solar Home expects to install up to 2,500 systems in 2017. The firm is under discussions on integrating the payment system with local mobile money providers.
Some of the ventures built by Forum Capital include Singapore-headquartered Credolab, a digital-age risk management firm; AsiaCollect, a consumer debt collection company; and Kwamb.io, a Boston-based early stage tech company operating in the 3D printing industry. Greg Krasnov, founder and managing director of Forum Capital, is the chairman of SolarHome.
According to data compiled by IFC, only 32 per cent of Myanmar is connected to the power grid. In June 2016, IFC led the lighting Myanmar project, a key part of the National Electrification Plan of Myanmar. With an aim to achieve universal access to sustainable electricity services by 2030, the project will be assisting international and Myanmar-based companies in creating a sustainable market for high-quality off-grid energy solutions.
The Myanmar government has recently approved a $480-million investment by New York-based Convalt Energy, a portfolio company of ACO Investment Group, for the construction of two $150 MW solar power plants in Mandalay.
Green Earth Power from Thailand has also been approved for investment of a 210MW solar power plant with a project value of $275 million.