AFRICA – d.light, a leading innovator of solar energy products, announced that Shell’s New Energies business has acquired a minority stake in the company, buying out several early-stage investors as they move on to new projects, underscoring the sector’s increasing commercial viability.

Commenting on the investment, d.light co-founder and CEO Ned Tozun said, “We are excited to have Shell join d.light as a shareholder. Shell’s record of leading important, transformative changes within the energy sector, and their alignment with our mission, makes them an ideal partner for d.light as we begin our next phase of major growth.

“We would like to thank our early investors who had faith in us from the start. Thanks to their enduring support, they have enabled d.light to enable incredible positive impact in the lives of millions of customers while still achieving strong financial outcomes.”

Shell Vice President Energy Solutions Brian Davis said, “We are impressed by d.light’s track record in meeting evolving customer needs for access to electricity across both Africa and Asia.

“Their experienced team has developed efficient sales and distribution channels in these markets and continues to expand their product range.  We look forward to supporting d.light to realize its growth ambitions.

“With this latest investment, Shell takes a step closer to meeting its ambition to provide a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people in the developing world by 2030.”  

Isabelle Hau, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, one of d.light’s prominent early investors, welcomed the announcement: “d.light has achieved remarkable direct impact at scale with nearly 100 million lives reached, and sector-level impact by transforming energy access and catalyzing an entire new off-grid power ecosystem.

“d.light has generated both social impact at scale and solid financial performance, demonstrating that social impact and financial returns are not mutually exclusive.

“With the new investment from Shell, early impact investors including Omidyar Network are able to successfully exit as they would with any other type of commercial venture.”

This transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent including regulatory approvals.

This figure is determined by the World Bank’s PayGo PERFORM initiative, which oversees financial reporting and operational benchmarking of PayGo companies.

d.light was founded in 2006 at Stanford and it provides distributed solar energy to households and small businesses in 70 countries, impacting the lives of nearly 100 million people.

Shell’s New Energies business was created in 2016 and focuses on two new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen; and power, which includes low-carbon sources such as wind and solar.