SOUTH AFRICA – Mettle Solar Investments, a commercial and industrial solar power company, has closed a US$7.2m equity round. The investment was made by Gridworks, a CCD Group-backed development and investment platform targeting equity investments in transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity in Africa. 

As part of the investment, Mettle Solar will appoint Mbuvi Ngunze, Senior Advisor to Catalyst Principal Partners and ex CEO of Kenya Airways, as its new Chairman.

Currently, the firm has 34 projects of a cumulative 28.1 MW in operation and 2.3 MW under construction. In Namibia, Kenya, and Indian Ocean Islands, the solar company works business clients to fund, develop and operate solar power technologies. 

The investment marks Gridwork’s first since its launch in June 2019 and will help Mettle Solar enter into new Africa markets. 

More plans are in place to reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate the commercial viability of C&I systems for businesses in the continent. Here, 70 percent of total energy demand currently comes from commercial and industrial customers. 

Gridworks CEO, Simon Hodson said: “This is a landmark for Gridworks as our first investment reaches financial close. By providing patient, long-term capital to Mettle Solar, we’ll support them as they enter new markets across Africa. 

“Mettle Solar offers consistent and clean energy to their customers, acting as a pioneer in the use of battery storage for business users and helping them cut their dependence on diesel.  

“We aim to increase the quantity and quality of power in Africa, and we know that Mettle Solar can contribute to this goal – providing green, reliable power to businesses that will go on to create jobs and economic opportunity. 

“Mettle’s excellent leadership team will be strengthened by the appointment of the hugely experienced Mbuvi Ngunze as its new Chairman.”

Capitalised by CDC, Gridworks aims to invest over US$300m in improving the transmission and distribution infrastructure to deliver reliable and sustainable power.

The African off-grid sector is building steam. Not only are solar companies increasing in numbers, but investments are coming in from around the world.