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Nuru receives additional $1.5m for solar PV in the DRC

3rd March 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC’s) first solar photovoltaic (PV) metrogrid developer Nuru has secured an initial $1.5-million from investors in a convertible note round ahead of the close of its Series B funding round.

The investment is a bridge to bolster the company's $25-million Series B equity fundraise, which will be invested by a consortium of international investors at financial close.

The climate and impact fund manager Camco-managed Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), finance company Proparco and private equity fund E3 Capital have each committed to invest $500 000 in Nuru. The funds will help accelerate the implementation of three nationally strategic late-stage development projects in Goma, Kindu and Bunia, in the DRC, with an aggregate installed capacity of 13.7 MW.

"Nuru is thrilled to have partners like REPP, Proparco and E3 Capital empowering us to deliver life-changing energy access in an extremely challenging environment. REPP, Proparco and E3 Capital have demonstrated tangible commitments to helping Nuru achieve our mission of delivering reliable, affordable, renewable energy to five-million people in the DRC," Nuru cofounder and CEO Jonathan Shaw said on March 3.

The World Bank reports that only about 19% of the DRC's population has access to electricity, making the Central African country one of the least electrified in the world. The majority of the country's grid power generation comes from hydropower plants, which are underperforming owing to a lack of maintenance and an increased incidence of drought caused by climate change.

Nuru and its investors aim to help close the energy access gap while diversifying and decentralising the DRC's energy mix. This supports the DRC's ‘Strategic National Development Plan 2019-2023’ goal for increased renewable energy capacity.

Nuru has already installed 1.7 MW of operating capacity, providing electricity through solar PV installations, with battery storage and diesel backup, and isolated distribution networks to commercial and industrial sectors, as well as retail and residential customers in large off-grid towns.

In addition to the three late-stage development projects, Nuru has a further 35 MW of projects in its current active pipeline, which it expects to be fully commissioned within the next three years.

Once both phases have been completed, the company will provide first-time clean energy access to more than 230 000 people and about 5 300 businesses and social and public institutions, most of whom currently rely on diesel generators for their power.

"Nuru has the potential to deliver a truly widescale and transformational impact in one of the world's poorest countries. REPP's investment alongside Proparco and E3 Capital will not just lead to greater emissions reductions, but also higher levels of economic activity and improved living standards for hundreds of thousands of people through clean, reliable and affordable energy access," Camco REPP head Ben Hughes said.

The investment aims to demonstrate the DRC's improving investment conditions and give confidence to other funders to invest.

The successful completion of Nuru's projects will hopefully lead to higher levels of economic activity, improved living standards and greater emissions reductions.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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