January 30, 2023
PowerGen

PowerGen was started in 2011 to give clean, renewable electricity to the 600 million people in Africa who don’t have it yet.

Today, tens of thousands of people use their energy services every day, and they have offices in four different countries.

PowerGen Renewable Energy is an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company that specializes in developing micro-grids. They can install large-scale solar energy systems in the commercial and industrial sectors of Africa.

PowerGen wants to give everyone in Africa access to electricity by using clean, renewable energy and better grid infrastructure. They can build Africa’s future energy infrastructure and make people’s lives better through more efficient electricity because of their technical skills on the ground and their forward-thinking business strategy.

They also build, own, and run alternating current (AC) microgrids and commercial and industrial (C&I) solar power plants so that homes, businesses, and factories can get electricity.

PowerGen is becoming a major player in Africa’s energy market, with over 120 employees, a workshop, and headquarters in Nairobi, and other locations in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. ​​​​​​

Together with their trusted partners, their goal is to build a long-term energy infrastructure in Africa that will give millions of people their first access to electricity.

Additionally, their team is making progress toward their goal because they are committed to the cause and never give up. They come from many different backgrounds, but they all have similar goals and values that brought them together.

Outside of building renewable energy projects and getting electricity to places that didn’t have it before, their team spends a lot of time working to improve the private utility sector in Africa.

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PowerGen is the driving force behind the Africa Microgrid Developers Association (AMDA), and it often contributes to industry publications.

As an example, they hope that PowerGen can make it easier for other African countries to build their infrastructure for utilities.

How it Works

Micro Grids

In the developing fields of renewable energy and microgrids, it’s important to have a full picture so that customers can get quality, dependability, and good value.

PowerGen has a deep understanding of this because it has worked in many parts of the whole value chain. PowerGen has the best knowledge of the entire life cycle of a microgrid project in Africa, from feasibility studies and regulatory frameworks to customer contact centers and initiatives to increase demand.

Commercial & Industrial Solar

In 2011, three engineers started a company called PowerGen. Their goal was to offer affordable renewable energy solutions for Africa south of the Sahara. PowerGen is working on commercial and industrial solar projects in four African countries with a staff of more than 150 people.

On top of that, their services cover the whole value chain, from the beginning to the end.

Founders

Aaron Cheng

Aaron Cheng: CEO & Founder @ PowerGen

Aaron Cheng is the CEO and the founder of PowerGen Renewable Energy.

Aaron Cheng had one other job before he started working as an Associate at Accel-KKR.

Aaron Cheng studied at the University of California Berkeley.

Sam Slaughter

Sam Slaughter: Co Founder @ PowerGen

Sam Slaughter is the Co-Founder and Board Member at PowerGen Renewable Energy.

He is currently working at SmithRx where their goal is to make it easier for businesses and people to find ways to cut down on the high cost of prescription drugs.

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Sam Slaughter studied at Harvard University.

Alastair Smith

Alastair Smith: Co founder @ PowerGen

Alastair Smith is the Co-Founder and Head of Nigeria Operations at Powergen Renewable Energy.

Alastair Smith studied at Harvard University.

Mark Wopicho

Mark Wopicho: Co founder @ PowerGen

Mark Wopicho is the Co-founder and Senior Director of Engineering at Powergen Renewable Energy.

Mark Wopicho studied at Kenyatta University.

Investors & Funding Rounds

Shell Foundation, Sumitomo Corporation, Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), Omidyar Network, EDFI ElectriFi, DOB Equity, Acumen

PowerGen is a leader in the mini-grid business, and adding it to Shell’s growing list of off-grid energy solutions is a good thing.

Shell and Sumitomo have put money into the African company PowerGen, which makes mini-grids.

After leading the most recent round of investment with six other investors, the two will own 15 percent of the company as a whole. Sumitomo will sit on the board as an observer, while Shell will get a place where it can vote. The financial details of the Series B round were kept secret.

PowerGen has given electricity to about 15,000 homes and businesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria since it started putting in mini grids there. It wants to use the new money to grow its local operations, not to pay for projects.

PowerGen made history when it bought Rafiki Power from E.ON. Rafiki Power was the first company to sell mini-grids.

Shell has put a lot of money into businesses to reach its goal of having 100 million customers. It got into the commercial and industrial solar industry in India by investing in Orb Energy earlier this year. It has also put money into Husk Power, which makes mini-grids, and SteamaCo, which makes off-grid meters.

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Six more investors took part in the Series B round. They were Omidyar Network, Acumen, Renewable Energy Performance Platform, EDFI ElectriFI, DOB Equity, and Microgrid Catalytic Capital Partners.

The more successful the business is, the more it will affect these kinds of talks. The limit is somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 connections, which is more than the current 15,000 connections. Most of the extra money will be used to build systems and infrastructure to help reach this goal.

Main Competitors

Apex Clean Energy: It builds wind and solar power plants on a large scale for businesses.

Enphase Energy: Micro-inverter systems, like the ones offered by Enphase Energy, are essential for getting solar power into homes and businesses.

KarmSolar: Egypt’s private solar energy company KarmSolar works without being connected to the grid.

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