Which country in the world has the largest number of installed solar home systems? The answer is not in Europe, but Bangladesh with more than 5 million household solar energy producers. That is where innogy New Ventures LLC, the Silicon Valley based arm of the innogy Innovation Hub arm has completed its latest investment in SOLshare, a multi award-winning business that brings affordable solar electricity to communities in Bangladesh and beyond through its peer-to-peer solar energy trading platform.
The investment represents a highly successful outcome of the Free Electrons accelerator programme, where the innogy Innovation Hub first discovered this pioneering young Bangladeshi company that is dedicated to building the energy utility of the future. Portugese utility, EDP and the Singaporean IIX Growth Fund also took part in the US$1.66M series ‘A’ funding round.
Back in 2015, SOLshare established the world’s first peer-to-peer solar energy grid in a remote area of Bangladesh. Their SOLbox meter allows solar entrepreneurs to sell their excess energy to other consumers using a smart direct current grid. As an advanced developing market with low regulation, Bangladesh represents an ideal environment to discover the technical and commercial potential for micro grids.
SOLshare has recently been accepted into the Technical Pioneers Program of the World Economic Forum, an annual list of the world’s most innovative companies. It is now looking to expand its micro grid technology to enable more communities to share and monetise energy, making it a perfect fit with innogy’s investment focus area of digital disruption.
With this new cash injection, SOLshare, will continue to grow its technical team and build upon its early market success. Through existing partnerships, the company has so far gained access to more than three million installed solar home systems in the remote areas of Bangladesh. SOLshare next aims to expand its presence in Bangladesh and India, to the rest of Asia, a region in which there are an estimated 700 million people without access to electricity.