Africa-focused PV start-up BBOXX raises $20m in Series C funding

BBOXX, a London-based supplier of plug-and-play PV systems into Africa, closed $20m in Series C funding, with investment coming from new investors like Engie Rassembleurs d’Energies as well as existing ones like Khosla Impact Fund.

The funding will allow the off-grid solar company to scale its presence in its key markets today, Kenya and Rwanda, while opening new franchises in the West African countries of Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

The BBOXX Home kit comes with a 50W roof-mounted solar panel and a battery system, which the company monitors remotely. The systems are manufactured in China and purchased by homeowners on a three-year plan.

In addition to Engie Rassembleurs d’Energies, a “solidarity” investment fund owned by French power giant Engie, BBOXX's latest funding round included two other new investors: MacKinnon, Bennett & Company, a Montreal-based that invests in renewables and urban infrastructure; and KawiSafi Ventures, a $100m private-equity impact fund anchored by the UN-sponsored Green Climate Fund.

“We see a strong opportunity for BBOXX's licensed products and services to act as a foundation for a rapidly growing new sector in the global utility market," says Patrick Bennett, vice president at MacKinnon, Bennett & Company.

Since being founded in 2010 by three students at Imperial College London, BBOXX claims to have deployed over 70,000 solar systems that deliver power to 350,000 people. The company now employs 200 staff.

Rwanda has been an especially fast-growing market for BBOXX, and the company is currently building its operational headquarters in Kigali. By the end of 2016, BBOXX claims its off-grid solar systems will be supplying electricity to as many households as the Rwandan national grid.

"We are excited about the growth potential for the African off-grid solar market and delighted with BBOXX's rapid development,” says Laure Vincotte, managing director of Engie Rassembleurs d'Energies.