Gridworks, the company set up in 2019 to develop and invest in Africa’s electricity networks, today announced the financial close of its investment in Mettle Solar Investments (Mettle).
Mettle is a South African-based commercial and industrial (C&I) solar power company that provides energy solutions to business customers across Africa. Mettle will receive R106.7 million ($7.2 million) of equity funding from Gridworks.
The investment by Gridworks will also see Mettle appoint Mbuvi Ngunze as its new Chairman. Ngunze is an experienced African business leader, who is currently a senior advisor to Catalyst Principal Partners and was previously the Group MD and CEO of Kenya Airways.
Mettle currently has 34 projects (28.1MW) in operation in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Indian Ocean islands with a further 2.3MW currently under construction. It works with business clients to fund, develop and operate solar power technologies, including battery storage, that provide consistent, affordable clean energy.
Gridworks’ investment, its first since launching in June 2019, will help drive Mettle into new markets across Africa.
The investment aims to reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate the commercial viability of C&I systems for businesses in a continent where 70% of total energy demand currently comes from commercial and industrial customers.
Welcoming the financial close of the investment, Gridworks CEO, Simon Hodson said: “This is a landmark for Gridworks as our first investment reaches financial close. By providing patient, long-term capital to Mettle we’ll support them as they reach new markets across Africa. Mettle offers consistent and clean energy to their customers, acting as a pioneer in the use of battery storage for business users and helping them cut their dependence on diesel.
“Our aim is to increase the quantity and quality of power in Africa and we know that Mettle can contribute to this goal – providing green, reliable power to businesses that will go on to create jobs and economic opportunity. Mettle’s excellent leadership team will be strengthened by the appointment of the hugely experienced Mbuvi Ngunze as its new Chairman.”
Responding to the C&I call for stable power supply
Ngunze also commented: “I am delighted to be joining the Board of Mettle at this important time in the company’s development. There’s a clear need for a reliable power supply to business across Africa, with the continent’s commercial and industrial customers crying out for stable, affordable green energy.
“With the new investment announced today by Gridworks, I believe that Mettle can expand into new African markets, meeting the growing needs of businesses, while helping to combat climate change. I look forward to playing my part in that growth.”
Capitalised by development financial institution CDC, Gridworks will aim to invest over $300 million improving the transmission and distribution infrastructure to deliver reliable and sustainable power.