Nithio Invests in SunCulture to Drive Solar Irrigation and Farming Innovations Across Africa
Nairobi, Kenya, 6 September 2023:
Nithio, a leading energy finance platform in Africa, has announced an investment in SunCulture, an industry leader in solar irrigation and farming technology solutions. Nithio’s investment, made through its investment vehicle, Nithio FI, is part of the Productive Use Appliance Financing Facility (PUAFF), which catalyzes the uptake of productive use appliances across Africa. PUAFF is managed by CLASP, an international non-profit organization that improves the energy and environmental performance of appliances and equipment, and Nithio, and supported by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP).
Nithio’s investment is part of a $12m syndicated debt facility led by Mirova Sunfunder and financed through its Solar Energy Transformation Fund), Mirova (through its Gigaton strategy) and Triodos Investment Management, which together will enable SunCulture to finance inventory and receivables for its Kenyan subsidiary across its productive-use renewable energy products, related appliances and irrigation equipment. This will allow SunCulture to reach more customers, especially smallholder farmers who need affordable and reliable access to energy and water for their livelihoods.
Kate Steel, Nithio CEO, said: “We are delighted to partner with SunCulture, a pioneer and innovator in the solar irrigation and farming technology sector. SunCulture’s products have a proven impact on increasing agricultural productivity, income, and resilience for smallholder farmers. Through our investment, we aim to support SunCulture’s growth and scale, and contribute to the broader mission of GEAPP to accelerate the adoption of productive use appliances in Africa.”
SunCulture was founded in 2012 to help solve the daily challenges that smallholder farmers endure including time-consuming manual irrigation or reliance on the increasingly unpredictable rains for their crops. Since then, they have designed, manufactured, financed, and serviced IoT-enabled solar energy systems and irrigation equipment for smallholder farmers allowing farmers to spend less while growing more. This has led to SunCulture being able to: Offer both cash sales and Pay-As-You-Grow financing through their direct sales channels and distributors; sell over 45,000+ units to date; offer VeraSol tested non-battery and battery equipped solar irrigation systems; and expand into new sales regions through direct international market entrance, joint ventures, and government partnerships.
Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture CEO, said: “Through this support, SunCulture is primed to deepen its footprint within Kenya, responding to the urgent calls for food security, poverty alleviation, and climate resilience. This partnership empowers SunCulture to place game-changing tools in the hands of vulnerable smallholder farmers, supporting climate mitigation and adaptation at the individual, community, and national levels. SunCulture is pleased to partner with Nithio as we continue to pursue the highest standards in credit risk assessment and consumer credit management, which are key enablers of SunCulture’s overall objectives.”
PUAFF’s mission is to increase access to high-quality productive use appliances that enhance the economic opportunities and well-being of off- and weak-grid consumers. The facility offers procurement subsidies, capacity building grants, distributor debt financing, and advisory support focused on credit systems development for Productive Use Appliance (PUA) companies and distributors. PUAs eligible in the facility include energy-efficient, income-generating appliances such as refrigerators, solar water pumps, agro-processing equipment, sewing machines, etc. The recent recognition of 18 companies through procurement subsidies and capacity-building grants in East, West, and Central Africa highlights PUAFF’s commitment to catalyzing positive change. PUAFF’s financing will reduce the cost of appliances for end-users by offering discounts on bulk solar appliance purchases and providing financing to distributors, allowing them to offer products on credit.
Makena Ireri, Director of Demand, Jobs, and Livelihoods at GEAPP, states, “the initiative aligns with our mission of promoting sustainable energy solutions that will avert future carbon emissions, while enabling increased access to clean energy and improving livelihoods through economic growth. By lowering the cost of high quality, energy efficient appliances and providing financing, we’re enabling jobs and livelihoods for thousands of people supporting a low-carbon future.”
Nithio’s investment in SunCulture marks a significant stride towards transforming the landscape of solar irrigation and farming technology in Africa. Supported by GEAPP, this collaboration will drive innovation, sustainability, and prosperity across the region.
Nithio is an AI-driven platform for clean energy investment. The company has standardized credit risk assessments to catalyze billions of dollars of capital into solutions that address climate change and help achieve universal energy access. Nithio does so by lending directly to the off-grid solar sector through its financial intermediary, Nithio FI, as well as supporting other investors to scale their investments by better understanding consumer credit risk. Learn more at www.nithio.com.
SunCulture is a climate-smart agriculture company for smallholder farmers. SunCulture designs, manufactures, finances, and services IoT-enabled solar energy systems and irrigation equipment, and is the market leader in solar water pumping solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa. SunCulture’s mission is to bring affordable, renewable energy to smallholder farmers in emerging markets to improve productivity and income, enhance resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Learn more at www.sunculture.com.
About the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP)
The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) is an alliance of local entrepreneurs, governments in emerging and developed economies, and technology, policy, and financing partners. Our common mission is to support developing countries’ shift to a clean energy, pro-growth model that ensures universal energy access and unlocks a new era of inclusive economic growth, while enabling the global community to meet critical climate goals during the next decade. In doing so, as an Alliance they aim to enable 150 million new jobs, reduce 4 gigatons of future carbon emissions, and expand clean energy access to one billion people. With philanthropic partners, Bezos Earth Fund, IKEA Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation, GEAPP works to build the enabling environment, capacity, and market conditions for private sector solutions, catalyze new business models through innovation and entrepreneurship, and deploy high-risk capital to encourage private sector solutions, and assist just transition solutions. For more information, please visit www.energyalliance.org.
CLASP focuses on appliance & equipment energy performance and quality, to mitigate and adapt to climate change and expand access to clean energy. Super-efficient and high quality appliances accelerate access to and use of renewable energy for the world’s poorest people. CLASP supports progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7, affordable and sustainable energy for all. Renewable energy services like cooling, communications, and mechanization empower low-income communities and improve lives in a climate friendly way. CLASP works globally and has teams in Washington, DC; Nairobi, Kenya; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Brussels, Belgium; and Jakarta, Indonesia.