Singapore’s IIX leads $1.66m Series A in Bangladesh solar energy firm SOLShare

Visual from SOLshare's website

Singapore-based IIX Growth Fund has anchored a $1.66-million Series A round in SOLshare, a Bangladeshi off-grid solar energy firm that seeks to increase clean energy for over 19,000 households in the country.

IIX Growth Fund, a social and environmental impact fund backed by Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), marks its first Bangladesh investment in SOLshare, which also received investment from Silicon Valley-based Innogy New Ventures and Portuguese utility firm EDP. IIX also supported SOLshare as a mentor in 2012.

SOLshare, established in 2015 by Sebastian Groh, established the world’s first peer-to-peer solar energy grid in remote area of Bangladesh. Its decentralised peer-to-peer microgrids deliver solar power to households and businesses, and enable them to trade their excess electricity for profit.

“The propritary SOLbox energy meter allows for peer-to-peer electricity trading between off-grid households and micro-enterprises connected to solar panels. As more users connect over time, the SOLshare network grows in supply and distribution, empowering everyone to become solar entrepreneurs by selling excess energy,” SOLshare said.

The company said it will use the fresh funds to increase access to clean energy for over 19,000 rural households and 14,000 micro-entrepreneurs, and address climate change by avoiding over 2,200 metric tons of carbon emissions by 2021.

“The aim is to create efficient and dynamic local energy markets that empower households and encourage solar entrepreneurship – starting in Bangladesh, followed by India before the end of this year, and eventually on a global scale,” Dr. Sebastian Groh, Managing Director of SOLshare

According to the company, Bangladesh has five million solar home systems installed more than any other country in the world. However, more than half of the country’s population has no access to electricity, and demand has reached nearly double the country’s generating capacity.

“Bangladesh faces significant unmet energy needs as its power generation is dependent on limited energy sources—imported fossil fuel and natural gas. Furthermore, grid extension is not always feasible and in some cases technically challenging,” it said.

Asia and the Pacific region is home to the majority of the world’s energy poor, with an estimated 700 million people without access to electricity.

The IIX Growth Fund was launched by IIX to make direct equity investments in impact enterprises in select under-served emerging and frontier markets in South and Southeast Asia.

It focuses on investments that are either owned by women or have a significant positive impact on women, address climate change issues and enable access to healthcare, education and other critical needs for marginalized communities.

Also Read:

IIX Growth Fund backs Green Enterprises Indonesia in first investment

Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp to acquire 25% stake in Bangladesh LNG terminal

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.