Easy Solar is major player in Sierra Leone, offering a wide range of solutions for home, business and industrial purposes. The company recently expanded to Liberia and started to address urban and peri-urban markets with grid-connected, small solar solutions. Triodos Groenfonds’ loan will help the company to scale-up its activities and keep expanding in other countries.
Sierra Leone has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world (26% on average). The scarcity of reliable energy supply is one of the key impediments to the economic and social development of the country. Only 26% of the population has access to electricity, with only 2% of the rural population, and only 5% has access to clean cooking (IRENA, 2020 data). Energy consumption is largely dominated by biomass sourced from fuelwood and charcoal, being 80% of the energy used. Affordability is a real challenge for the population, however, presenting a real opportunity for Easy Solar’s small home and business solutions.
Bringing it home
Easy Solar differs from other providers by going the last mile and reaching even the poorest clients. The company has close to 400 retail points in Sierra Leone and over 50 in Liberia selling a range of energy-access products, the smallest being a solar lantern with flexible payment options (mobile money or cash).
The transaction with Easy Solar, in cooperation with like-minded investors Acumen, FMO and Gaia Impact Fund, perfectly fits Triodos Groenfonds’ mandate to expand energy access in Africa.
“This is our first exposure to so-called small-home-solutions and small-scale commercial and industrial solutions", explains Marius Groenenberg, Principal Investment Manager at Triodos Investment Management. “Both are growing and important segments for energy in Africa, especially in the frontier markets where Easy Solar is active. Off-grid solar solutions have proven to be more than just a way to provide clean, affordable, and reliable electricity to underserved communities. Through the wide range of energy solutions offered by Easy Solar, customers are given the chance to boost their economic development thanks to the accelerated development of productive activity in these communities in a vast untapped market.”