Ontario — Canadian Solar and SolarWorX, a Berlin based off-grid solar pioneer, announced that they entered into a strategic partnership in which Canadian Solar will invest in SolarWorX as part of the start-up’s Series A investment round.
Canadian Solar, as the lead investor, is joined by co-investors EIT InnoEnergy, one of the leading European investors in sustainable energy innovations, and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, the German development finance institution. DEG will use funds from the develoPPP.de program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The seven-digit funding will help SolarWorX expand its product portfolio and sales activities in its overall push to electrify some of the 1.2 billion people that are still living without a stable grid connection.
SolarWorX offers a modular off-grid solar solution called Solego to harness and distribute energy from solar panels.
The modular systems with 80Wh or 160Wh battery capacity can be stacked on top of each other and provide flexibility to power individual households, small businesses and entire communities.
The systems also offer voice support in local languages such as English, French, Swahili, Wolof and Fula, and are compatible with all major pay-as-you-go platforms.
Significant upside potential lies in SolarWorX’s upcoming smart DC grid solution called MESH, a hardware-agnostic system that allows users of Solego and other 12V solar battery systems to easily share PV-powered electricity between 2 to 100 households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). MESH will be deployed in the field at a pre-commercial stage by the second quarter of 2021.
Felix Boldt, CEO and founder of SolarWorX, commented: “In sub-Saharan Africa alone, around 600 million people are detached from the opportunities that come with reliable access to power. Changing that requires more than just a well-engineered technical solar solution. In Africa, everything is defined by price. Our solution cuts out the need for technicians and can be customized to accommodate individual power demands and available budgets. This, combined with our approach to work with local distribution partners in those incredibly diverse markets is what sets us apart, and we are incredibly proud to have Canadian Solar, EIT InnoEnergy and DEG join us in our effort to bring clean energy to rural Africa.”
SolarWorX’s existing key markets are Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria, with South Africa as its base for selling to the sub-Saharan region. New targeted countries have a high proportion of citizens living off the grid, and thus represent a massive addressable market, which can benefit greatly from a large-scale rollout of affordable off-grid power systems.
“The electrification of sub-Saharan Africa represents one of the most important global challenges of our time, as well as one of the greatest business opportunities,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, “Bringing clean, reliable power to those currently living off the grid will have a profound positive effect on the world as a whole. This investment reflects Canadian Solar’s commitment to contribute to social development as part of its broader sustainability strategy. We are excited to partner with SolarWorX and believe that, with our support, they can position themselves as a leading facilitator of this rollout.”
Canadian Solar’s network of suppliers, sales channels, and logistics on the African continent will help SolarWorX further reduce costs and establish itself as a viable solution to bring renewable off-grid power to where it is most needed.