Shell invests in African microgrid provider PowerGen

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4 November, 2019: PowerGen Renewable Energy (PowerGen), a leader in micro-utilities in Africa – managing mini-grids and providing customer support – has signed a Series B investment with funding from Shell’s New Energies business*, as well as Omidyar Network, Acumen, Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), EDFI ElectriFI, Sumitomo Corporation, DOB Equity, and Micro-grid Catalytic Capital Partners (MCCP). The funding** will strengthen PowerGen’s position in its core African markets Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and help it expand into new ones, as the demand for reliable, clean and affordable electricity in Africa continues to grow.

PowerGen aims to connect one million more people to reliable electricity over the next five
years, before accelerating its reach in future. Over 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity, of which approximately 80% live in rural areas (according to the International Energy Agency). PowerGen has been one of the pioneers of the private utility sector in Africa, delivering affordable, reliable and clean electricity to underserved Africans through modern, sustainable mini-grids. It also provides ongoing customer support through dedicated maintenance and customer services.

This approach is, in turn, helping to reduce poverty by supporting economic development and contributing to a clean electricity system in Africa.

This round of funding follows a Series A round closed in December 2016 led by DOB Equity and supported by AHL Venture Partners.

Aaron Cheng, President of PowerGen, comments: “We are thrilled to have investors who are so knowledgeable and experienced in our sector join our team. Shell, Omidyar Network, Acumen, EDFI ElectriFI, REPP, Sumitomo Corporation and MCCP are institutions with significant expertise in and commitment to the African energy access industry. We are excited to work with them to build the energy system of the future in Africa, helping to bring electricity to the millions of people without.”

Brian Davis, Shell VP Energy Solutions, comments: “I am happy that Shell will be supporting the next chapter in PowerGen’s exciting journey towards meeting the electricity needs of more African customers. We see that Powergen’s local experience, capabilities and growth to date make it well positioned to serve the expanding African decentralised power market. The firm is a key part of our growing energy access business as we move towards Shell’s ambition to provide a reliable electricity supply by 2030 to 100 million people in the developing world.”

Note: **This transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent including regulatory approvals.


About PowerGen Renewable Energy

Founded in 2011, PowerGen is a renewable energy and micro-grid company with offices in four African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria), and employs over 120 full-time staff. PowerGen has connected over 70,000 people to smart, clean micro-grids and is working to build the energy system of the future in Africa through such grids. PowerGen is a founding member of the Africa Mini-grid Developers Association (AMDA), and serves on its board.

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About Shell New Energies

Shell’s New Energies business was created in 2016 and focuses on two main areas: new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen; and power, which includes low-carbon sources such as wind and solar. Within the power portfolio, Shell is also actively pursuing commercial opportunities to invest in energy access solutions in Africa and Asia. *The New Energies business is supported by Shell Ventures B.V., the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (“Shell”).

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of
markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by
philanthropist Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, the organization has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and non-profit organization to catalyze economic and social change. To learn more, visit and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork.

About DOB Equity

DOB Equity is a leading Dutch family office investing in impactful and innovative businesses in East Africa, with offices in East Africa, including Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and in the

About Acumen

Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $124 million in 122 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. In 2015, Acumen was named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies. Learn more at and on Twitter @Acumen.

About Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP)

The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) works to mobilise private sector
development activity – and investment – in small to medium-sized projects (typically up to
25MW). It is supported with £148m funding from the UK’s International Climate Finance
through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and to date has agreed contracts with 24 renewable energy projects across 13 countries, employing six different technologies, from off-grid solar mini-grids to grid-connected biomass and run-of-river hydro. REPP is managed by Camco Clean Energy. Learn more at and on Twitter @repp_energy.

About EDFI ElectriFI

EDFI ElectriFI is an impact investment facility, investing in early stage private companies and projects, focusing on new/improved electricity connections as well as on generation capacity from sustainable energy sources in emerging markets. EDFI ElectriFI is funded by the European Union and other partners (PowerAfrica and Sweden) and managed by EDFI Management Company as a sub-delegate of FMO. Learn more at

About Sumitomo Corporation

Sumitomo Corporation (“SC”) is a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company with 132 locations (Japan: 22, Overseas: 110) in 66 countries and regions. The entire SC Group consists of more than 900 companies. SC conducts commodity transactions in all industries utilizing worldwide networks, provides related customers with various financing, serves as an organizer and a coordinator for various projects, and invests in companies to promote greater growth potential. SC’s core business areas include Metal Products, Transportation and Construction Systems, Infrastructure, Media and Digital, Living Related and Real Estate, Mineral Resources, Energy, and Chemical and Electronics.

About Micro-grid Catalytic Capital Partners

Micro-grid Catalytic Capital Partners makes pilot investments to promote energy access. MCCP supports promising entrepreneurs who develop and implement solutions that bring electricity and productive end use benefits to previous unconnected communities.