Hundreds of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and the emerging regions remain without electricity. Despite the abundance of renewable energy sources in these locations, some reports place these figures which range between 500 million to 2 billion people.
Zola Electric, for example, recently announced the raising of $90 million in new finance to grow into new markets and expedite the adoption of the distributed renewable energy. Xavier Helgesen, Erica Mackey and Joshua Pierce founded Zola Electric in 2011 to offer solar housing alternatives to off-grid rural areas of Tanzania’s.
Since then, the company has grown and changed. In an interview with TechCrunch, Bill Lenihan, the Chief Executive Officer who came in 2015, said that Zola Electric found over time that its single product couldn’t serve the complete market of clients it wanted to target — from off-grid to on-grid, rural to urban, residential to commercial.
“Around the world, upwards of 2.2 billion people lack access to affordable and reliable energy. “For such 2.2 billion people, we required an energy ladder as well as a series of goods that were all linked in some ways but solved distinct problems,” he said. “As a result, we began to expand and give additional power in these systems.”
According to a statement from Zola, the company has evolved into a technology firm whose products can tackle energy access issues in practically any area.
Last year, Zola launched Infinity, a product that, as per the company, can charge any office or home equipment while being connected to any energy source, including grid, solar, and battery. Before shifting to a suitable energy source and storing it, this product integrates with the solar panels, power grids, and other power sources.
These solutions are handled by Zola’s Vision SaaS software system, which offers customers data, analytics, and system control. “We have something resembling an energy ladder, where we can very much go into any industry and fix any problem. There are still some technology and market sector gaps that we haven’t addressed yet. And that’s where our research and development money is going to help us fill in the gaps on the energy ladder.” The total amount raised is $90 million, which includes $45 million in loan and $45 million which is in equity. Customers can get detailed reports on system statuses, performance, and power consumption patterns from Zola Electric.