October 29 (Renewables Now) - French utility Electricite de France (EPA:EDF) has acquired a 50% stake in the Togo unit of off-grid solar power provider BBOXX.
"The ‘BBOXX with EDF’ tie up is the first step in a broader partnership, with plans to expand the joint venture into other countries in Africa," the two companies said in a joint press release on Friday.
The two partners are aiming for a market share of 35% in Togo by 2024 and are also planning to work together in other African countries.
The solar power home kits offerred by BBOXX include solar panels coupled with batteries to store electricity. EDF’s R&D department will be testing and certifying solar kit components while also aiming to improve the performance of the battery storage solution.
BBOXX customers are typically located in rural, off-grid areas. Most earn their living by farming coffee or vanilla bean on small plots of 1-2 acres. With a monthly income of between USD 100 to 200, they spend USD 8-12 on energy expenditure such as purchasing kerosene, batteries, and charging their phones. According to its website, BBOXX prices its direct sales units to match these existing energy costs, spreading the cost of a solar system over time to widen its customer base, thus enabling the switch to clean, renewable solar energy.
Starting business operations in Togo just last year, BBOXX already supplies electricity to 26,000 Togolese customers. The company has opened 20 shops and directly employs around 100 people. It is also a key distributed energy service company (DESCO) partner in the Togo Government’s electrification programme, known as CIZO, which aims to supply two million people with solar home systems by 2022.