September 18 (Renewables Now) - Portuguese minigrid firm RVE.SOL on Friday announced the closing of a Series A funding round led by French engineering and design company Egis Group and South African firm G7 Renewable Energies (Pty) Ltd.
Seed investors InnoEnergy and RKW also participated.
The funds raised will help RVE.SOL realise a project that will bring renewable power and clean water to 15,000 people in Kenya through its patent-pending pay-as-you-go renewable energy solution KUDURA. The company said this is to happen over the coming six months, while it will aim to reach 50,000 more people in East Africa by the end of the decade.
"The entry into [the minigrid] business of large-scale infrastructure and commercial grid-tied energy investors, developers and infrastructure operators demonstrates that the sector is starting to be seen as a viable infrastructure business akin to developing, financing and operating long term projects like railways and national grids," said RVE.SOL founder and managing director Vivian Vendeirinho.
The KUDURA Sustainable Rural Development solution combines solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, anaerobic digestion, a water purification facility and central monitoring of the system. It represents a scalable, stand-alone renewable energy solution. One such unit has been in operation in Sidonge, Kenya since 2011.
Rik Joosten, CEO of Egis Projects, said the company expects the minigrid market to reach rapidly sufficient scale and such projects to gain access to more competitive financing arrangements. Egis is 75%-owned by France’s Caisse des Depots et Consignations.
"RVE.SOL’s pioneering technology, experience and innovative business model constitute for G7 the ideal platform to deploy rapidly and at scale grid-compliant minigrids across Africa," said Nicolas Rolland, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa-focused G7.