Singapore startup SolarHome provides cheap solar energy home systems in Southeast Asia; raises funding

Singapore-based startup SolarHome has closed an oversubscribed Pre-Series A round at US$625,000. The round was led by Uberis Capital, with participation from Beenext VC and other regional investors.

This round, combined with an earlier seed funding from Singapore-based venture builder Forum Capital, brings SolarHome’s total financing to US$1.1 million.

SolarHome plans to use the funding to further invest in its off-grid solar energy home systems, as well as finance the growth of its sales network across Myanmar.

Off-grid solar energy home solutions can be rolled out more quickly than traditional electrical grid extensions. Each solar energy generator contains its own panel, batteries, and other electronics required to produce electricity.

This is crucial in emerging markets where governments, faced with hurdles such as insufficient funding, are ill-equipped in rolling out electrical grid extensions fast enough to meet the needs of the population.

SolarHome’s solution works on a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) model, which is similar to a mobile phone subscription plan. A user rents the solar energy unit for a small down payment, then purchase energy tokens online or via scratch cards to activate the unit for a defined period of time.

After two years of buying energy tokens, the ownership of the solar energy unit will be transferred to the user.

SolarHome said this model not only incurs low upfront costs but also low lifecycle costs. The rental system also makes it a lot more affordable — a critical issue for low-income households.

Users have to make an initial downpayment of US$10 for SolarHome’s solar energy unit. Depending on their needs, the subscription costs anywhere between US$3 to US$15 per month.

SolarHome plans to roll out over 10,000 solar energy units by the end of 2018. It also plans to expand out of Myanmar to other developing nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Source : e27

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