On the 28th June, Solaris Offgrid were invited by UNDP to speak at the Africa Carbon Forum in Benin.
On the 28th June, Solaris Offgrid were invited by UNDP (United Nation Development Programme) to speak at the Africa Carbon Forum in Benin. Dave Henry, Advisory Manager at Solaris Offgrid joined a panel discussing how crowdfunding can support the energy access market and help bring clean and affordable energy to rural areas. Dave appeared alongside Bill Farmer, Chairman at Uganda Carbon Agency, Ousmane Bocoum and Alexandra Souzer from UNDP.
Making reference to the crowdfunding campaign that Solaris Offgrid ran in 2016 with Trine (visit the CNN article about this collaboration), Solaris Offgrid discussed the key elements of a successful campaign, along with some thoughts for the future of the industry. In particular:
Early stage access to capital: crowdfunding can provide a source of cash at a vital time; when an enterprise has a proven product but is still operating at a small scale, below the level of interest of institutional investors. The continuity of growth that this provides is vital for scaling energy access solutions.
Focus on points of strength: a successful relationship between a beneficiary and an investment platform is one where the platform uses its expertise to handle the latter two areas. In a similar theme, Solaris Offgrid supports multiple partners with their SHS operations, and has partnered with Trine to run the due diligence needed on Trine's behalf, streamlining the process and ensuring easier access to the crowd.
The future: to ensure that crowdfunding can really help energy access enterprises flourish, platforms should be ready to keep developing new and improved services. For example, currency fluctuations are a big risk for small enterprises to bear, and local currency loans would help overcome this.