In 2016, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward a target of modern, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy for all by 2030. While progress has been made in providing basic energy to the billions without reliable access, delivering modern electricity is a much larger challenge. Only with productive levels of electricity—and the means to use the power—will rural communities grow their economies, improve livelihoods, and bridge the digital divide, while also displacing the millions of fossil fuel generators that still dominate Africa and the Indo-Pacific.

Solution and Impact

DFC participated in an equity investment in Husk Power Systems (Husk), alongside a consortium of investors, to help address this gap in low-carbon modern energy. With equity funding from DFC and additional debt, Husk plans to roll out 1,400 new mini-grids in India and Nigeria over the next five years. These mini-grids are projected to add 300,000 new connections—100,000, or one-third, of them micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)—while avoiding 350,000 tonnes of CO2. Husk will also continue to create new jobs, adding 2,500 positions as the company expands into new markets in Africa and the Indo-Pacific.

With DFC and investor support, Husk has matured from a primarily mini-grid operator to an integrated energy platform that goes far beyond the provision of electricity. As part of its mission to catalyze rural prosperity, Husk offers e-commerce sales and credit financing of energy-efficient appliances, turnkey commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop solar products, and a range of climate-resilient services. The company is also progressively becoming more intelligent and automated, powered by AI and IoT.

The World Bank says these kinds of clean energy mini-grids are the most cost-effective, fastest path to bring electricity for the first time to 380 million underserved people in Sub-Saharan Africa.