A significant portion of the global population, approximately 700 million people, still lacks access to electricity, and current efforts suggest this number will continue to rise by 2030.
In response to this pressing challenge, Okra Solar, a pioneer in mesh-grid technology, has successfully closed its Series-A funding round, securing over $12 million in fresh financing, comprising both debt and equity. Of the total, $7.85 million was raised in equity, led by At One Ventures, with participation from FMO, Susquehanna Private Equity Investments LLLP, Autodesk Foundation, and King Philanthropies. The debt financing was provided by EDFi.
Mesh grids have emerged as a promising solution for off-grid energy markets where scalability depends on cost viability. Unlike traditional grid extension or mini-grid systems, mesh grids generate solar power at individual homes, redistributing excess energy through smart algorithms from one connection to another to optimize utilization. The key differentiator is that power travels only between neighboring houses, dramatically reducing distribution costs (cables and poles) by up to 90% while maximizing uptime and power availability. This decentralized approach is particularly valuable as the world faces potential copper shortages.
Okra Solar operates on a business-to-business (B2B) model, supplying technology to last-mile energy utilities that then electrify remote households. With the International Energy Agency forecasting a doubling of power generation capacity in Africa to 510 GW by 2030, there is a growing need for clean, renewable energy solutions in emerging markets.
Having already deployed mesh-grid technology in four countries, electrifying over 14,000 people, Okra Solar’s success demonstrates the demand for its innovative technology and business model. The Series-A funding will enable Okra to further expand its impact and contribute to rural electrification efforts in the Global South.
GetInvest EU, a European program that mobilizes investment in renewable energy in developing countries, provided support during the fundraising round. Marieke Roestenberg, Manager of the FMO Ventures Program, expressed FMO’s pride in partnering with Okra Solar and its mission to leverage mesh-grid technology for rural electrification.
Okra Solar, previously a TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield award winner, continues to push boundaries with recent product updates, including automated network planning software and stackable Okra Pods to increase power output. The latest version of the pods will also allow mesh grids to connect to existing grid infrastructure.
CEO Afnan Hannan highlighted the challenges of scaling mesh grids, emphasizing the need for regulatory frameworks to keep pace with technology advancements to achieve 100% electrification by 2030.