Through $15 million in U.S. development finance and support of the Power Africa initiative, innovative private sector company will scale up clean, off-grid power access in Nigeria
WASHINGTON – October 22, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today signed an agreement recognizing a $15 million commitment by OPIC to finance Txtlight Power Solutions, Ltd. doing business as Nova-Lumos (Lumos), an off-grid electricity provider, to scale up a business that provides solar electricity to homes and small business throughout Nigeria. The signing was part of Secretary John Kerry’s Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum.
“We are very excited about this major financing milestone in partnership with OPIC, which will enable us to accelerate our growth in Nigeria and improve the lives of millions,” said David Vortman, CEO and Co-Founder at Lumos. “Having the backing of an institution such as OPIC provides a vote of confidence in Lumos’ innovative core technology and our unique business model that drives most of our value as a company,” he added. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with OPIC as we grow in Nigeria and other territories.”
“Lumos brings vision, innovation, and sound business sense to address the power access challenge in Africa,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “With a dedication to those who live off-grid or have unreliable power access, Lumos’ creative business model will positively impact millions with new affordable electricity access in homes, businesses, medical facilities, and schools.”
With this OPIC financing, Lumos will be able to increase power access to the nearly 90 million Nigerians who currently live without connection to the electric grid. The Lumos service includes a home solar panel linked to an indoor storage and connection unit that allows customers to access significant amounts of power on-demand, day or night. The affordable Lumos service allows customers to utilize a “pay-as-you-go” model, in small amounts, by text message.
Lumos’ business model is highly scalable in large part due to the company’s partnerships with incumbent mobile operators. In Nigeria, Lumos has partnered with MTN, Nigeria largest telecommunications company with over 60 million subscribers base.
This is the largest OPIC investment to the off-grid power sector in Africa, a key component of increasing energy access in a region where people are not grid-connected and the need for reliable power is especially acute.
Lumos was also a recipient of early-stage catalytic funding through OPIC and the Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative (ACEF), a partnership with the U.S. State Dept. that provided crucial start-up capital for 30 innovative clean energy projects across 10 African countries, designed to help projects to progress to a financially viable stage. OPIC’s financing to Lumos proves the catalytic model of this program.
Lumos recently became an official private sector partner of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a partnership among more than 100 public and private sector partners to bring new power access to the more than 600 million Sub-Saharan Africans that currently live without electricity. And as a key part of Power Africa, OPIC financing allows private companies like Lumos to scale up business models and broadly increase new power access across Africa.
Lonomics, a New York City based impact investments firm served as the transaction advisor to Lumos.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC helps raise the industry and regional standards of the countries in which its projects operate. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.
Nova-Lumos is the world’s first distributed utility provider, bringing affordable, modern and clean electricity to communities that have been living off the grid.
Lumos connects the dots between the mobile payment revolution and solar energy, through its patented, self-deployable mobile energy system, with integrated cellular payment and advanced security mechanisms. With Lumos, households in the off grid world can replace kerosene and candles with modern electricity that can that can power lights, cellphones, fans, computers, TVs and other small electronic devices (all at once, every day), and all for the same cost spent today on kerosene on a lease to own basis, purchased via the mobile phone.
MTN Nigeria (MTNN) provides cellular network access and ICT solutions to millions of Nigerians, connecting whole communities with each other and with the rest of the world. MTNN has led the growth in the voice market since 2001 and is now pursuing new growth opportunities in the data and ICT space. This lead position is evident in a differentiated and attractive array of product and service offerings, a growing bouquet of ICT products that have revolutionized the way Nigerians live, work and play.
MTN’s leadership position in the area of network investment, coverage, expansion and state of the art infrastructure is also evident – with over 60 million subscribers and more than $15 billion invested in fixed assets and facilities nationwide. MTN is also the first Nigerian company to receive the prestigious Investors in People (IiP) Gold accreditation, a global people management standard. As MTN progresses with the vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new Digital World, the company is guided by a win-win ideology that stimulates economic development, a vibrant and stable society.