LUCKNOW, INDIA – June 3, 2017 – Mera Gao Power, an off-grid solar energy enterprise based in Uttar Pradesh, India, has raised US$2.5 million in equity funding from the Insitor Seed (Insitor), the ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies Initiative (RDE) and the Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), with the support of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). The funding will be used by Mera Gao Power (MGP) to expand into over 5,000 additional rural off-grid villages across Uttar Pradesh, provide over 50,000 households and 300,000 people with access to reliable energy for the first time, and achieve profitability.
Founded in 2010, MGP has focused on providing low-cost energy services to remote villages of under 50 households. MGP’s unique approach to providing energy access has seen the company provide access to energy for the most remote villages for approximately US$2 per month. To achieve this, MGP has developed a solar-powered micro-grid which costs less than US $1,000 to install, the lowest-cost commercially viable micro grid. The villages that MGP serves would otherwise be the last priority for grid-based electrification.
The co-founder of Mera Gao Power, Nikhil Jaisinghani, explains, “The off-grid market in India is enormous but complex. MGP’s approach to serving off-grid households is unique in it’s targeting of very poor off-grid hamlets with a basic, affordable electricity service. With its low cost to customers and deep rural penetration, MGP is protected against grid penetration and relevant to a wide range of off-grid customers. At the same time, MGP’s business model has attractive returns. This investment in MGP has both high social and financial returns with unique long term relevance.”
In 2012, MGP was awarded the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award. MIT’s Technology Review Magazine selected the company’s micro grid design as one of the ten most important technological achievements of 2012. Its contribution has also been recognized by the Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology, which highlights MGP’s role in its ‘India Innovates’ Report. In 2016, Forbes India recognized MGP as one of five social enterprises tackling some of India’s largest social problems.
“IIX strives to support innovative high-impact enterprises that deliver meaningful social and environmental impact at scale, while offering financial returns to investors. Companies like Mera Gao Power are a testament to the potential of the private sector to drive progress towards universal access to energy in the remotest villages. IIX is delighted to support the growth of Mera Gao Power and a cutting-edge approach to delivering clean, affordable and reliable off-grid energy to thousands of households across India”, IIX’s Managing Director, Robert Kraybill, expresses.