British International Investment
22 September 2020

CDC Group announces joint funding to Greenlight Planet’s solar business


  • commitment provided alongside leading investors, to support expansion of Greenlight Planet’s pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar consumer finance business
  • investment to bolster jobs in sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide across distribution and service network
  • commitment will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions while boosting access to affordable and clean energy for low-income households


CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has today announced a joint commitment of US $90 million – in partnership with leading investors – to Greenlight Planet Inc., the largest provider of solar-powered home energy products in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This new funding will enable Greenlight Planet to expand its Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solar consumer finance business.

CDC is invested in the solar energy provider, alongside FMO and Norfund, in addition to impact investors ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships, and private equity firm ARCH Emerging Markets Partners’ Africa Renewable Power Fund. Of the total investment, US $69 million has been disbursed to Greenlight Planet, with the balance to be drawn down as the company delivers additional solar-powered home energy systems, with end-consumer financing, to homes in Africa.

Under its Sun King™ brand, Greenlight Planet operates the largest direct-to-consumer PAYG solar distribution and service network in the world, having delivered over 1.3 million PAYG solar products to date in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. The company’s PAYG distribution network employs up to 7,000 staff across the world, 30% of whom are women employed in areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where unemployment levels are high.

Greenlight Planet’s Sun King products offers clean, renewable and reliable energy to sixty million individuals across 65 countries. The products – which include various essential home appliances and the solar panels and batteries to power them – are especially needed as customers spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sun King products have saved over US $3.4 billion on fossil-fuel-based energy costs, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 14 million metric tons.

CDC’s investment will help to boost access to affordable and reliable energy increases productivity for small businesses, and support off-grid families by providing children the means to studying longer. As a result, the commitment will contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); Climate Action (13); and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).

Geoffrey Manley, Director and Head of Energy Access and Efficiency at CDC Group said: “Our financing of Greenlight Planet provides our team with a great opportunity to support a company that is creating jobs and taking meaningful strides to fight climate change. We’re thrilled that our commitment promotes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, helping to facilitate economic development across the African continent.”

William Barry, Managing Director at ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF) added, “ARCH ARPF is delighted to support Greenlight Planet’s continued growth as it delivers on its mandate to expand energy access across sub-Saharan Africa. Greenlight’s global market leadership in the off-grid solar sector positions the company strongly within ARPF’s expanding off-grid renewable energy portfolio, complementing our existing utility-scale, independent-power-producer development pipeline.”

T. Patrick Walsh, Co-founder and CEO of Greenlight Planet added, “Greenlight Planet’s goal is to bring affordable, clean energy to every under-electrified household that needs it. After a decade of honing our solar technology and our solar distribution, installation, and service strategy, we are now jumping the last hurdle to solve this global challenge, that being financial inclusion. We are expanding access to consumer financing, making basic solar power available to all people, at a cost as low as $0.15 per day. We are delighted to work with CDC, Norfund, FMO, ResponsAbility, SIMA Funds, Symbiotics, Global Partnerships and ARCH to expand access to finance and access to energy.”

The company has delivered consistent profitability over the last four years and generated its first $100 million in revenue in 2019.


Media Contact:

CDC Group: Toyosi Adebayo / [email protected] / @[email protected] / M. +44 (0) 7880 372 305

Greenlight Planet: Cassandra Barua/ [email protected] / +919769087737 | Douglas Hesney / [email protected] / 718.915.5546

About CDC Group

CDC Group is the world’s first impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in Africa and South Asia.

CDC is a key advocate in the adoption of renewable energy in Africa and South Africa in the fight against climate change and a UK champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.

The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of £5.8bn. This year CDC will invest over $1.5bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people.

CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia.

CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.

About Greenlight Planet

Greenlight Planet is a social-mission, for-profit business that since 2009 has sold over 13 million of its Sun King solar home energy products to off-grid customers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  The company reaches customers through its direct-to-consumer distribution and financing network, as well as wholesale partnerships with over 300 commercial and non-profit last-mile distributors, ranging from mobile network operators, to microfinance institutions, to oil and gas companies, to NGOs. Greenlight Planet’s Sun King products are currently installed in over 65 countries and have served 60 million people.

Find out more at

About the Off-Grid Solar Industry

Relevant (unaffiliated) aggregators of industry information include the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and Lighting Global (a platform of the World Bank Group, to support sustainable growth of the international off-grid solar market)

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