Renewvia, an Atlanta-based solar provider, landed a spot at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague this week thanks to its deployment of microgrid systems in East Africa.
The smaller solar systems now in use in Kenyan fishing villages are monetized through a prepaid mobile payments platform the company developed in-house.
The goal is to reach a broad array of villages across Africa with the technology, enabling local economic growth by lighting them up for the first time while scoring commercial wins for a company that still gets most of its revenues from larger-scale projects in the U.S.
CEO Trey Jarrard joined more than 2,000 innovators from more than 120 countries at the event, which was co-hosted by the governments of the U.S. and the Netherlands. The Dutch government, perhaps more than most, links its trade and development activities together. This year’s summit focused on problem-solving in five areas: energy, ag/food, connectivity, health and water.
“Two out of three people (in sub-Saharan Africa) do not have access to electricity, but it’s even worse in rural, hard-to-reach communities,” Mr. Jarrard said in a news release. “Renewvia’s approach to microgrid development provides a real opportunity to drive sustainable impact in these areas and generate a market return on investment.”
Renewvia is participating in a $14.7 million Series A capital raise to deliver 27 prospective new microgrid facilities in Kenya and Nigeria.
Kenya’s ambassador to the United States visited Atlanta in April to encourage such investments in his country.
Learn more about the company and its model in Global Atlanta’s February profile: Lighting Africa From Atlanta: Solar Contractor Sees Profitable Future in the Developing World