OPIC PARTNERS WITH LUMOS TO POWER NIGERIAN HOMES AND BUSINESSES
WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today signed an agreement recognizing a $15 million commitment by OPIC to finance Txtlight Power Solutions, Ltd. doing business as Nova-Lumos (Lumos), an off-grid electricity provider, to scale up a business that provides solar electricity to homes and small business throughout Nigeria. The signing was part of Secretary John Kerry’s Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum.
“We are very excited about this major financing milestone in partnership with OPIC, which will enable us to accelerate our growth in Nigeria and improve the lives of millions,” said David Vortman, CEO and Co-Founder at Lumos. “Having the backing of an institution such as OPIC provides a vote of confidence in Lumos’ innovative core technology and our unique business model that drives most of our value as a company,” he added. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with OPIC as we grow in Nigeria and other territories.”
“Lumos brings vision, innovation, and sound business sense to address the power access challenge in Africa,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “With a dedication to those who live off-grid or have unreliable power access, Lumos’ creative business model will positively impact millions with new affordable electricity access in homes, businesses, medical facilities, and schools.”
With this OPIC financing, Lumos will be able to increase power access to the nearly 90 million Nigerians who currently live without connection to the electric grid. The Lumos service includes a home solar panel linked to an indoor storage and connection unit that allows customers to access significant amounts of power on-demand, day or night. The affordable Lumos service allows customers to utilize a “pay-as-you-go” model, in small amounts, by text message.
Lumos’ business model is highly scalable in large part due to the company’s partnerships with incumbent mobile operators. In Nigeria, Lumos has partnered with MTN, Nigeria largest telecommunications company with over 60 million subscribers base.
This is the largest OPIC investment to the off-grid power sector in Africa, a key component of increasing energy access in a region where people are not grid-connected and the need for reliable power is especially acute.
Lumos was also a recipient of early-stage catalytic funding through OPIC and the Africa Clean Energy Finance initiative (ACEF), a partnership with the U.S. State Dept. that provided crucial start-up capital for 30 innovative clean energy projects across 10 African countries, designed to help projects to progress to a financially viable stage. OPIC’s financing to Lumos proves the catalytic model of this program.
Lumos recently became an official private sector partner of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a partnership among more than 100 public and private sector partners to bring new power access to the more than 600 million Sub-Saharan Africans that currently live without electricity. And as a key part of Power Africa, OPIC financing allows private companies like Lumos to scale up business models and broadly increase new power access across Africa.
Lonomics, a New York City based impact investments firm served as the transaction advisor to Lumos.