Husk Power Systems, a rural energy company operating renewable mini-grids in Asia and Africa, announced that it has achieved two industry firsts: surpassing 100 community mini-grids, and serving more than 5,000 micro-enterprise customers.
Despite the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this mini-grid developer notes that it has demonstrated its resilience by achieving zero service disruption and providing emergency financial support to existing and new customers.
As a result, it continued to grow from March to September, seeing a 52% increase in customers in India, while revenue grew by 101% during the same period. Similar growth occurred in its Africa markets.
The 100 mini-grids, located in India and Tanzania with near-term expansion to additional African markets including Nigeria, represent a more than 10-fold increase from mid-2018, the company stated.
Average capacity of the mini-grids is 50kW, a system size that is significantly larger than most other rural energy service providers and able to power multiple productive loads for a range of small businesses, including retail shops, factories, agricultural processing and cold storage, water filtration and schools, as well as households.
Micro-enterprise customers of Husk Power on average have seen a 33% increase in profits once connected to the mini-grids, according to the company’s market research.
“We’re now able to roll out at least two new mini-grids per week, one of the fastest growth rates in the industry, and there is still considerable room for acceleration,” said CEO and founder Manoj Sinha.
“Hitting 100 mini-grids is a stepping stone to becoming the first commercially viable mini-grid company in the world and to doubling our mini-grid fleet to 200 in the next 12 months. This is in line with our vision of reaching 5,000 mini-grid sites serving 500,000 micro-enterprise customers,” Sinha added.
Husk Power’s rapid growth has been supported by its success in raising $25 million in equity financing from leading investors, including FMO, Shell, Swedfund and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies.
Brad Mattson, chairman of the Husk Power board of directors, said: “Husk Power is demonstrating what scale looks like for the mini-grid sector, setting the company up for another breakthrough year in 2021, in which we plan to achieve operating profitability.”
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Senior Vice-President for power & climate, Ashvin Dayal also commented: “Even in this time of global crisis and a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, Husk Power Systems has been able to provide safe, reliable electricity for homes, businesses and essential services across rural India. We are proud to support their efforts through our Smart Power India initiative, and I commend the entire team for reaching this important milestone in their work to power lives and livelihoods.”