Toyota Tsusho Corporation

07/05/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/04/2019 21:20

Toyota Tsusho Invests in U.S. Company Powerhive Inc. Promoting Mini-grid Business in Non-electrified Regions of Kenya- Supporting rural development through electrification of[...]

2019-07-05

Toyota Tsusho Corporation ('Toyota Tsusho') announced today it has made an investment in U.S. company Powerhive Inc., which provides solar powered mini-grid solutions for non-electrified regions of Kenya, through a subscription to the company's third-party allocation of shares.

1. Background to investment

It is estimated that some 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (area of Africa below the Saharan Desert) are living without electricity, as power grids have yet to extend into sparsely populated rural communities in the region. Communities have pinned their hopes for power on decentralized, distributed-type mini-grid solutions.

2. About Powerhive Inc.

Powerhive became the first private-sector company in Kenya licensed to sell electricity. It now develops and installs mini-grids combining solar power generation systems with storage batteries for installation in the country's non-electrified communities. These systems supply electricity to both homes and businesses. Powerhive owns the mini-grid assets, and local residents pre-pay for only the power they consume by mobile payment, alleviating the communities of the need for facilities investments. Powerhive has developed a proprietary platform integrating site selection, grid design, construction, power supply management and customer management. This enables Powerhive to develop mini-grids designed specifically for the needs of individual communities.

Powerhive also offers micro-finance programs which make it easier for community businesses and residents to utilize mini-grid power, thereby increasing incomes and raising their quality of life. Poultry breeders and farmers are using these loans to purchase incubators and irrigation pumps, while residents are invest in their first electric stoves. Powerhive supports the growth of communities through both the supply of electricity and related enterprises, and will accelerate its development of new business in non-electrified regions.

3. Purpose of investment

Toyota Tsusho is investing in Powerhive to support the expansion of the company's mini-grid business in Kenya. Additionally, this investment will allow Powerhive to utilize Toyota Tsusho's extensive networks and expertise in Africa while creating a foundation for collaborative business development in Kenya as well as in other countries.

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