Orb Energy (“Orb”) closed a KES 183mn equity investment from the Netherland’s premier development finance institution, (FMO), to replicate its unique retail model for solar energy in Kenya.
Orb designs, manufactures, installs and services solar energy systems for electricity and hot water for both residential and commercial customers. To reach and serve its customer base, Orb has established 170 branches to date in 8 states of India, and plans to expand to 500 branches in India over the next three years.
Simultaneously, Orb is now replicating its approach in Kenya, by adding 50 branches over the next 2 years. Orb launched its subsidiary in Kenya at the start of 2014, and has sold more than 1,500 solar systems to date, and has opened its first branch in the commercial centre of Kisumu. With FMOs investment, Orb is targeting 100,000 solar energy systems to households and enterprises in Kenya in the next five years.
Damian Miller, the Chief Executive Officer of Orb, said: “We are very pleased to have FMO’s investment and its seal of approval for our business model. Orb has developed its retail model in India, where we deliver superior quality solar energy systems for electricity and hot water, with the best after-sales service. We now intend to replicate in Kenya while at the same time expanding our India presence. Kenya is an excellent starting point for us in Africa as we have tremendous support from banking partners in Kenya to finance our customers.”
In India, Orb works with nationalized banks and micro-finance institutions to ensure that where possible, its customers receive finance for its solar energy systems. Orb has also adopted this approach in Kenya, where it already works with some of Kenya’s largest banks and micro-finance institutions.
Robert Voskuilen, Senior Investment Officer at FMO, commented “We have reviewed many solar businesses now entering the African market, and we found Orb’s diversified range of solar products, designed and manufactured by Orb to the highest standards of quality, to be very compelling. This combined with Orb’s unique branch network for the sale, installation, and service of residential and commercial customers gave us confidence that Orb will serve the Kenyan customer and its banking partners well. The investment fits well in FMO’s renewable energy strategy for Africa.”
FMO joins a prestigious list of investors in Orb Energy, including Bamboo Finance (Switzerland), Acumen Fund (USA), and the Family Trust for Tom Singh. Unitus Capital, based out of Bangalore, acted as Orb’s sole financial advisor for this equity raise.