Shell’s New Energies business has acquired a 20% stake in Bengaluru based solar firm Orb Energy in its latest funding round. Orb Energy provides credit to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest in solar panel systems.
Orb Energy has sold over 1,60,000 solar systems in India to date with a total capacity of 75 megawatts and the fresh investment will be used to help more Indian SMEs benefit from lower-cost solar power.
Founded in 2006, Orb Energy has two factories in Bengaluru, one producing solar photovoltaic panels and one producing solar water heating systems. Orb employs 250 people in India and also has operations in Kenya.
Existing investors in Orb Energy include FMO, Bamboo Capital Partners, Rianta Capital, Acumen Capital Market Funds I and Pamiga SA. The company has so far received $13 million in equity and $10 million debt in Series A and Series B rounds, according to a media report.
The investment is part of oil major Shell’s drive to deliver a reliable source of electricity to 100 million people in the developing world by 2030.It aims at reducing energy poverty through investment in Africa and Asia. “We were attracted by Orb Energy’s focus on providing cleaner and affordable energy solutions to SMEs in India. This is a vital and growing sector, with great potential to contribute to the country’s renewable energy ambitions.” Shell’s New Energies business was created in 2016 and focuses on new fuels for transport and power. It is supported by Shell Ventures B.V., the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC.
The renewable energy market in India alone is estimated to be at $17 Bn and is expected to continue growing at 15% annually. In 2018, the share of renewable energy in India’s overall power capacity has shot up to around 20%, from around 13% in 2015.
The pollution reduction industry, which can create solutions for better global environment, is looked at as a $15 Tn opportunity globally, according to the announcement made at the 2018 Earth Summit.
Many Indian startups, including Clairco, DataGlen, Synapptra, Chakr Innovation, Blue Sky Analytics, Mobycy, Ather Energy, 75F, have been working successfully on cleantech projects. In May this year, Bengaluru-based clean air startup Clairco raised an undisclosed amount as a part of its seed round from AngelList India. Clairco provides air quality monitoring and management for indoor spaces on a real-time basis. Delhi-based Chakr Innovation, another cleantech startup that converts soot from diesel engine to printable ink, raised $2.7 Mn in June this year.