Mobile Power Ltd (‘MOPO’), the pay-per-use battery technology company, is pleased to announce that it has raised €3 million to accelerate the roll out its solar charged hub-based battery rental business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (‘DRC’). The Results-Based Financing from The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (‘BGFA’), a Scandinavian multi-donor environmental and climate focussed fund, follows BGFA’s initial 2022 investment in the Company, which facilitated the development of battery rental operations to customers in Liberia.
Through its solar powered MOPO hubs and utilising a network of local agents, the Company rents its proprietary MOPO batteries to customers who have limited access to power, providing clean energy to households and small businesses, as well as electric vehicles. The pay-per-use battery sharing service reaches across the affordability spectrum as it requires no deposit, no debt, and access to power on the customer’s own terms. A MOPO battery is rented to an individual for a defined price and once used, is then returned to the MOPO hub.
The Company currently has two MOPO battery models, which were developed at its R&D facility in Sheffield, UK. The MOPO50 provides basic household energyfor lighting, phone charging and Direct Current (‘DC’) appliances; whilst the larger MOPOMax has two use cases, one as a battery swap for e-motorbike taxis and the other replaces small petrol generators (0-4 kVA).
The business is already operating successfully in Nigeria, DRC, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, and Uganda. Over 14 million battery rentals have been conducted to date, and 6 million rentals take place annually through the growing network of MOPO hubs and agents. Given the lack of infrastructure in the DRC, the Company anticipates that in the next 10 years its business model will benefit 8 million low-income individuals living with limited access to power.
The funding for the DRC, which will provide sustainable energy to +320,000 end users, was provided to MOPO’s 100% owned subsidiary MPDRC. BGFA is a multi-donor facility established and managed by Nefco, the Nordic Green Bank, which aims to bring clean and affordable energy to Sub-Saharan Africa. BGFA has, in total, contracted 25 companies in Burkina Faso, DRC, Liberia, Uganda, and Zambia, which cumulatively have the potential to reach up to 8.6 million people.
MOPO CEO Chris Longbottom said, “Having successfully applied BGFA’s initial investment to grow our renewable energy focussed battery rental business in Liberia, we are delighted to gain further support to develop operations in the DRC. We have a unique business model whereby solar powered hubs charge our proprietary MOPO batteries, which are then rented to customers to sustainably power their lives. We have already conducted 14 million MOPO battery rentals in our current countries of operation across Sub-Saharan Africa and look forward to building our services with BGFA and transforming power access to hundreds of thousands of people.
“Whilst the DRC represents a vast opportunity, our aggressive expansion strategy doesn’t stop there but includes both product development and scaling up roll out across Africa. With the right funding in place, we can leverage our leading position in Africa to accelerate universal energy access. To this end, we are talking to multiple partners and look forward to concluding further financing to aggregate our successful model.”
Kari Hämekoski, Senior Programme Manager at Nefco, said: “We are pleased that previous BGFA investees, such as Mobile Power, see an opportunity to unlock further investments and expand to other BGFA-supported countries. The core purpose of BGFA is to mobilise private financing and speed up access to modern, clean, and affordable energy.”