Africa50

Global off-grid renewable energy solutions company SteamaCo obtains financial backing from Europe’s impact investment bank ClearlySo worth £640,000 ($934,000).SteamaCo, which also has offices in Kenya, has stated that it intends to use the funding to expand access to its smart metering and data analytics technology that enables distributed providers of electricity from mini grid operators to agricultural irrigation businesses to reach 1.3 billion people living beyond the grid.

According to a company statement, its universal smart meter technology enables any company to operate like a utility, collect cashless payments on a per unit basis and remotely operate machinery in developing markets.

SteamaCo’s co-founder and CEO, Harrison Leaf, commented: “Not so long ago, Europe and the US worked out how to electrify the countryside. Today, Africa and Asia face a similar challenge.

“There’s a historic opportunity to get this right, and SteamaCo is a key enabler. We are delighted to be joined by a group of industry leading investors who understand our market and can support us on our mission.”

SteamaCo addressing energy access

Andrew Reicher, one of the investors in SteamaCo and an experienced energy investor in Africa, highlighted that over the last few years, mini grids and productive end use applications, including water pumps and wind mills have received less focus and policy support than expected.

Reicher said: “We feel there is strong logic to utilising networked solutions such as mini grids to support demand clusters, particularly where a portion of this demand is made up of businesses requiring reliable power.”

He continued: “The key to mini grids to play a bigger part in meeting the energy access challenge in Africa is the smart and robust metering and control systems that are SteamaCo’s speciality. We hope our involvement will assist SteamaCo to successfully pursue its mission.”

Tamsin Chislett, investment manager at ClearlySo, commented: “SteamaCo's metering technology is critical for the growth of the renewable off-grid energy sector in emerging markets, and their innovation will give more people access to reliable, green, and affordable energy than ever before.

“This is a business that truly serves people and planet as well as profits and is exactly the kind ClearlySo and our investor network seeks to support.”