Endowed with significant renewable energy resources, Africa presents presents a €65 billion market opportunity for a sustainable future based on renewable energy. Many regions, however, are still lacking access to electricity and water. The Switzerland based cleantech startup MPower Ventures exploits this opportunity by collaborating with local entrepreneurs and SMEs to provide universal access to solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa with innovative products. It offers decentralised plug and play solar systems that allow its partners to supply houses, churches, schools and hospitals with electricity and essential electronic devices without time-consuming and costly investments in grid expansion.
The company is currently active in six countries including Zambia, Togo, Cameroon, Botswana, Mali Malawi, and has sold 8’500 units. Through its various projects, it has demonstrated how modern ‘development cooperation’ can be successfully implemented. For instance, in Cameroon, it has worked on two infrastructure projects. With local companies and the Cameroonian government, four communities in the extreme north of the country – a region marked by poverty and terror – are currently being provided access to electricity and water. In another project, MPower worked with its local partner and a community in the western part to install 46 solar streetlights. The positive effects of street lighting include greater safety for pedestrians, motorists, women who spend time outside in the evening, and markets and small traders.
Solar energy for corporates
Due to the surging numbers of positive Covid-19 cases worldwide, which has forced many corporates to shift to home office, companies including such as banks, law firm, accountancies, insurance companies or telco companies are increasingly demanding for larger solar systems to support their employees. “We have reacted and developed a specific ‘Covid-19 solar home package’ that addresses the needs for back-up solution from these corporates“, said Manuel Seiffe, founder and CEO of MPower Ventures. A South African based company is already using the solution and more companies are yet to be on-boarded.
Crowdfunding campaign reaches over 50% target in two weeks
Since its incorporation in 2017, MPower has raised over CHF 3 million in equity and debt including a CHF 1.5 m loan guarantee from the Technology Fund. The startup is currently raising additional funds to strengthen its position in existing markets by increasing sales in existing markets, expand into further regions starting with Namibia and Ghana and bring its software development to the next level. Its ongoing crowdlending campaign on Crowd4Climate with a target of EUR 300’000 has already reached more than €172’000.