Senegalese solar distributor Oolu has raised $8.5 million Series B investment round for the distribution of its electricity access equipment in West Africa. The funds were raised from multiple investors, including RP Global, All On, Persistent Energy Capital, Gaia Impact Fund and DPI Energy Venture.

Founded in 2015, Oolu aims to provide affordable energy access to rural and peri-urban customers in West Africa. It operats in Nigeria, Senegal, Maile, Burkina Faso and Niger, where it has sold over 60,000 solar home systems. The company distributes kits consisting of a solar panel and storage capacity to enable households to have electricity after dark. Its system also has terminals for recharging mobile phones. To date, the company has opened offices in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The company plans to use its new financing to expand its core product offering to meet the needs of its current and future customers and expand its business in West Africa.

West Africa is a region with unreliable electricity supply and a need for more developed electricity supply systems. Currently, only 50 per cent of the population in West Africa has access to electricity. Those who do have access to electricity pay among the highest prices in the World (more than double those of consumers in East Africa). In addition, due to operational deficiencies, electricity services are unreliable, with an average of 44 hours of outages per month. To combat this issue, earlier in August 2020, the World Bank group approved a USD300 million grant to help Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone promote electricity trade within West Africa. The program supports trade in cleaner low cost electricity generated from gas, hydro power and other renewable energy technologies.