Odyssey Energy Solutions, a platform that connects private mini-grid developers and investors, is looking to attract US$500 million to finance a pipeline of new projects.
If successful, the investments could provide 21 African countries with 150 megawatts of solar energy. According to the company’s announcement, project ticket sizes range from US$40,000 to US$3 million. Odyssey’s platform users have grown at a monthly rate of around 30 percent and are typically made up of more than a hundred developers, investors, vendors and government institutions.
Emily McAteer, CEO and company co-founder, said that the company’s use of data analytics to “streamline and standardise mini-grid project development and financing” has helped make projects more manageable for its clients.
“We’re able to aggregate projects into bankable portfolios that meet investors’ ticket sizes and diligence requirements, paving the way for more capital to come into the sector,” she said.
Mini-grids are based outside the perimeters of countries’ centralised electricity grid systems. They are increasingly inexpensive to build, operate and maintain, making them efficient at providing energy to more than 70 percent of the world’s billion people without access to power. Around 200,000 mini-grids are needed to service the world’s energy poor, most of whom live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
United Nations‘ data reveals that 58 percent of the households with off-grid solar systems in East Africa build enterprises more effectively because they had access to electricity. Incomes have also been shown to increase by US$35 per month among 36 percent of households with access. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said it expects mini-grids will be the cheapest way to provide energy-access for around 290 million people over the coming 12 years.
The countries Odyssey plans to serve include Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Olusegun Odunaiya, CEO of Havenhill Synergy, a company already investing in Odyssey’s projects, said: “Odyssey has allowed us to quickly conduct rigorous technical and economic analyses for mini-grid projects in our pipeline and then create portfolios suitable for financing.”
Odyssey have completed more than 550 projects to date. Financial support for the firm has come from from the Shell Foundation, Factor[e] Ventures, DOEN Foundation, USAID Power Africa, and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).