Zola Electric has raised $90 million in new capital to expand into new areas and accelerate the deployment of distributed renewable energy.
Erica Mackey, Xavier Helgesen, and Joshua Pierce founded the company in 2011 to provide solar housing solutions to Tanzania’s off-grid rural areas.
The $90 million raised is made up of $45 million in debt and $45 million in equity. TotalEnergies Ventures, TotalEnergies’ capital venture; DBL Partners, an SF-based impact VC firm; Helios Investment Partners, Africa’s largest PE firm; Vulcan Capital, Paul Allen’s investment arm; Lyndon and Pete Rive (founders of Tesla-owned SolarCity); and Electron Capital Partners, a New York-based utility-focused hedge fund
Top energy lenders FMO and SunFunder, two organizations known for providing lending funding to solar companies in emerging countries, are involved in the debt transaction.
Zola introduced Infinity last year, a product that, according to the company, can power any home or office equipment while being integrated into any energy source grid, solar, or battery. Before switching to a ready energy source and storing it, the product works with power grids, solar panels, and other power sources.
According to Bill Lenihan, CEO of Zola Electric, the company discovered over time that its single product could not serve the complete market of clients it desired, including those who were off-grid or on-grid, rural or urban, and residential or commercial.
Zola goods are used by over 1.5 million people in over 300,000 households and companies across Africa, including the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Zambia, and Nigeria.
Outside of Africa, the firm has operations in the United States, Brazil, Pakistan, and the Philippines. It intends to grow throughout Northern Africa, Asia, and South America in the future.