KENYA – Powerhive Inc, a micro-grids operator, has raised US$9.3 million (Sh930 million) in its Series B round of funding to enable the firm expand its solar power connectivity.

Powerhive chief executive Christopher Hornor said Toyota Tsusho participated in the latest round with a commitment to actively participate in the project’s rollout for connecting solar power to 20,000 families across Kenya and beyond.

“We’re excited to work with Toyota Tsusho who shared our vision to build climate friendly, sustainable and profitable businesses around energy and energy enabled services for the more than 640 million people that lack reliable access to energy and other basic services.”

Christopher added that the solar kits once deployed will be locally assembled thereby creating a ready pool of solar technicians to keep Kenya ‘alight’.

 “This partnership is about supporting the construction of lasting, high quality and climate friendly infrastructure in Africa, built by Africans.  Africa is one of the last frontiers to build things right from the beginning,” he said.

Toyota Tsusho’s Power Project Business Unit head, Hirata Tatsuya, said the partnership gives them an opportunity to fully participate in the planned rollout as well as offer expertise and products.

“The time is right for Kenya to leapfrog from the old way of doing things and take a fresh approach to energy independence. We are proud to be part of this transition to deliver affordable energy,” he said.

New investors that participated in the funding included Kouros and TO:org as well as existing investors, Tao Capital, James Sandler, Prelude Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures and Total Energy Ventures, increasing stake.

Business Daily reports that the parties said they would collaborate in tapping opportunities in new markets in Africa as well as diversify the product mix.

These would include electrical mobility products and services, reused batteries, agricultural and industrial materials to create a new revenue stream for them.

Powerhive has been operating micro-grids since 2012 when it received a licence as Kenya’s first privately licensed electricity utility.

The company leverages its proprietary technology platform to develop and operate portfolios of renewable microgrids that supply affordable, reliable and productive electricity to off-grid communities in emerging markets.