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South African Solar Energy Startup Plans Initial Fund Raise


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South African renewable energy startup, WiSolar, gears up for growth by planning to raise ZAR 45 million (~USD 2.9 million) for this quarter of the year in its first funding round.

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The company which sells solar power on a prepaid basis plans to expand its business by working with property developers to install decentralized solar-power systems in new residential developments. The current model of the company incorporates the installation of the solar system at properties that can be paid for over up to 72 months duration through the prepaid purchase of power. 

The founder and CEO of WiSolar, Tonye Irims, said that the money will be raised in the form of debt and mezzanine finance from foreign investors. According to a statement by WiSolar, “Property developers can market solar-electricity powered houses and buildings that dodge the load shedding bullet.” The company will take care of the design, permits, maintenance, and installation of the solar energy systems.

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Solar-powered systems for residential use have increased in popularity in South Africa, a country plagued by power outages over the last few years as the state utility Eskom has failed to meet the electricity demand. The load shedding has been regularly disrupting people’s daily routines.

Despite South Africa’s abundant sunshine, solar power provides just 1% of its total electricity supply – mainly for industries and businesses. This can be traced to solar-powered systems being viewed as high-priced and complex by property developers and homeowners belonging to the middle-income sector.

However, WiSolar is on a mission to provide innovative solutions for on-demand low-cost solar electricity in South Africa. The company has already installed more than 9 MW of solar capacity which is sufficient to power 3,000 homes. 

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