Yorkshire’s Mobile Power receives €3m to ramp up battery rental business in Africa

Sheffield battery tech company Mobile Power has raised €3m to ramp up a roll-out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mobile Power (Mopo) has secured financing from the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) which will aid the the expansion of its solar charged hub-based battery rental business in the African nation. The BGFA is a Scandinavian environmental and climate-focussed fund which made an initial investment into Mobile Power in 2022 – funds which saw it develop battery rental operations for customers in Liberia.

The firm uses solar powered hubs and a network of local agents to rent out batteries to customers who have limited access to power, making sure homes, small businesses and electric vehicle can connect with clean energy. The company says it makes its pay-per-use battery sharing service affordable to all as it requires no deposit, no debt, and access to power on the customer’s own terms.

The company currently has two Mopo battery models which were developed at its R&D facility in Sheffield and it is already operating successfully in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, and Uganda. Over 14 million battery rentals have been carried out to date, with six million taking place each year through its 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 eight million low-income individuals living with limited access to power. The funding for the DRC, which will provide sustainable energy to more than 320,000 customers, was provided to its subsidiary MPDRC. BGFA, meanwhile, is managed by Nefco, the Nordic Green Bank, which aims to bring clean and affordable energy to Sub-Saharan Africa.

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.”

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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