Fenix raises $12.6m for solar expansion in Africa

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Emerging markets renewable energy company Fenix International has closed a US$12.6 million Series B round, which it will use to increase production and distribution of its ReadyPay system in Africa.

The funding round includes investments from GDF Suez, Schneider Electric, Orange France Telecom, clean tech entrepreneurs Tom Dinwoodie and Warner Philips, and other impact investors.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in East Africa, Fenix partners with telecoms companies such as MTN, Orange and Vodafone to supply mobile-enabled solar systems to off-grid African communities.

ReadyPay Solar, a mobile payment-enabled solar panel and smart battery, eliminates the need for dirty and dangerous diesel generators, candles and kerosene lamps that cause millions of fires and burns every year.

“Fenix’s mission – to deliver improved quality of life to the 1.3 billion people who live without power in developing nations – is both inspiring and achievable,” said Dinwoodie. “Fenix International’s dedicated team has reached impressive milestones. ReadyPay Solar is in use in thousands of villages, helping tens of thousands of families modernize their homes and businesses with clean electricity, all for less than the cost of fossil fuels.”

Fenix International founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Mike Lin said ReadyPay Solar was an innovation at the intersection of renewable energy, mobile communications and microfinance that empowers East Africans to light their homes, grow their businesses and improve their quality of life.

“Before ReadyPay, a solar energy system would cost a farmer more than a third of her annual income, but now she can finance clean, reliable electricity with her cell phone, by making micropayments as little as US$0.35 per day,” he said. “This most recent infusion of capital will enable us to accelerate production and provide our breakthrough technology to even more communities throughout Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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