Zola Electric Raises $90 million from Leading Clean Energy Players

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Bill Lenihan, Chief Executive Officer of ZOLA Electric

Image: Techcrunch

Renewable energy technology company ZOLA Electric has successfully completed a $90 million capital raise, comprised of $45 million of equity, $45 million of debt. The equity element was led by several prominent investors including TotalEnergies Ventures – the venture capital arm of TotalEnergies SE, DBL Partners, Helios Investment Partners, Vulcan Capital, plus Lyndon and Pete Rive – the founders of SolarCity. In addition, Electron Capital Partners, a New York based public market clean energy investor is also supporting this capital raise. This is their first private equity investment.

The debt is being provided by some of the leading Energy Access lenders including FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and Sunfunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets.

The size of the funding round, the calibre of the investors, and the backing by both private and public investors is testament to investor confidence in ZOLA’s Energy Access strategy, the company’s impact, and digital renewable energy as a new and growing asset class.

Proceeds will be used to develop next generation hardware and software technology, focused on bringing reliable, affordable and clean energy to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

ZOLA’s leading technology is bringing distributed, clean, digital energy solutions to those who lack reliable and affordable energy, commonly referred to as the Energy Access sector. ZOLA’s intelligent batteries are installed in homes and businesses, and are integrated into any energy source (grid, solar, battery, etc.) to power any load. These solutions are managed by Vision, it’s SAAS software system, providing customers with data, analytics and control of their systems. ZOLA’s platform of intelligent batteries, monitored and managed by Vision, is the world’s first fully integrated, modular and intelligent platform purpose built for the Energy Access sector.

Today, ZOLA delivers energy to approximately 1.5 million users, across over 10 countries, predominantly in Africa but recently expanded to Asia and South America. Its products are distributed through leading integrators and developers including EDF, Shell, Econet/DPA and to emerging DRE (distributed renewable energy) integrators like Blue Camel in Nigeria.

In these markets, the lack of primary power results in the installation of millions of back-up solutions (diesel generators, lead acid batteries) that are poorly integrated, difficult to manage, unreliable, costly, dirty, and lack intelligence. As a result, socio-economic development, healthcare and education is hindered. ZOLA’s objective is to drive energy access to the 2.2 billion people and hundreds of millions of businesses that currently lack it.

“We are beyond grateful and proud to close this $90 million funding round. Businesses are judged by the company they keep, and we are thrilled to have the backing of these leading energy operators and investors. The world needs energy access, energy equality, and it needs to be done in a way that protects our environment while supporting economic development. Digital renewable energy can help us accomplish these weighty objectives, and as a leading energy access technology company, this is what we intend to achieve,” Bill Lenihan, Chief Executive Officer of ZOLA Electric, said.

“Energy is reinventing itself, and we need to find a path to a low-carbon future while meeting the energy needs of the society. Developing renewable energy solutions dedicated to emerging markets is key to reach this goal and represents a huge investment opportunity. This is why TotalEnergies Ventures is delighted to support ZOLA, a leading company in this area, in their latest fund raise,” commented Edouard Bulteau, Principal at TotalEnergies Ventures.

“DBL’s mission has always been to drive top tier venture capital returns and positive social and environmental change. ZOLA embodies our mission in every way, and we are excited to see the company build the same success in clean energy in Africa and other emerging markets that we have had with clean energy investments in the United States. DBL firmly believes that access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy is a global movement, and the time is now,” Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner at DBL Partners, said. 

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