Off-grid to the rescue: GVE, Cold-Hub, Lumos, set to revolutionize energy sector in Niger Delta, sign funding deal with All On

Codratus Godson

GVE, Cold-Hub, and Lumos have signed funding deals in Port Harcourt expected to bring a revelotion in the energy sector through off-grid technology.

The three innovative firms signed the rare funding agreements in Port Harcourt on Friday to boost of-grid power supply through All-On.

The Conference Room 2 of Hotel Presidential was filled by a modest crowd of innovators and SME energizers to witness the deal that would pipe funds from Shell through All On to the innovative and award-wining firms. An energy impact firm, All On and the three Nigerian firms; Lumos Global BV, Green Village Electricity (GVE), and Cold-Hubs put pen to paper on Friday to rol out a deal that would change the way energy is sourced and distributed in Nigeria.

The three firms are to focus on the Niger Delta and then to Nigeria with strategic energy services that would provide steady electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the oil region in the coming years from off-grid sources such as solar energy. Lagos-based Lumus would support homes and offices with alternative power to boost operations 24 hours; Owerri-based Cold-Hub would boost storage of farm products especially tomatoes to keep them fresh and save waste and financial losses for farmers and traders; and Port Harcourt-based GVE would provide mini grid to support communities with alternative power supplies. Some of the funding would come as loans at below commercial rates while some would be converted to equity.

Mrs Florence Okoli, Programmes and Investment Manager for All On, told BusinessDay at the sidelines of the signing ceremony that what is important is that the three firms now have access to financial interventions needed to go fully commercial and to move their operations to the next level.

Speaking after signing the deals, the Chief Executive Officer of All On, Dr Boer Wiebe, said this is a follow-up to the equity investment made in 2017 to Nigeria Solar Home System market leader, Lumos Global BV, in the form of a debt facility to facilitate a quick rollout in the Niger Delta. “All On is also providing equity and debt to Port Harcourt-based Green Village Electricity (GVE), Nigeria’s leading mini-grid player, for expansion in the Niger Delta and across Nigeria, while Cold-Hubs is receiving a convertible debt facility to expand its solar-powered marketplace cold storage business to new markets in the region.”

These developments, he added, were coming barely three months after All-On announced its first set of transactions inNigeria’s off-grid market, and two months after the firm and U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) announced a $3 million partnership to expand access to energy for underserved and un-served markets in Nigeria.”

Shell, the seed source, was not on hand to reveal the size of the funding package and terms of the facilities especially duration, but Okoli assured that the firms would strictly be monitored and even encouraged to deliver according to terms.

She urged Nigerians to watch out for the three firms, saying they would soon hit the limelight as innovative companies that would rule their sectors in few years to come.

Boer said that off-grid activities and investments would continue to save Nigeria from huge energy gaps that have threatened the economy, saying while the public sector power players such as the Gencos and Discos continue to struggle to meet demands, the off-grid players would take away the market household by household, company by company.

He said he foresees collaboration and sharing of the benefits in the future between the Discos and the off-grid players. The off-grid players come with precision, efficiency and budget flexibility plus the attractions of personalized services.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lumos’s CEO Davidi Vortman, represented by Ashipa Olufemi, said: “This debt facility from All On both cements the strategic relationship between our two companies and goes a long way towards significantly accelerating the speed of penetration of Lumos Solar Home Systems in the Niger Delta region.”

Cold-Hubs CEO, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, described the signing as a dream come true, adding thus; “This support by All On will enable Cold Hubs to further refine its business model to help improve the livelihoods of people and enhance food security in the Niger Delta”.

Speaking also, the Managing Director of GVE, Ifeanyi Orajaka, said: “We at GVE are excited about this relationship with All On. An investment from a world-class organisation such as All On further validates our position as one of the leading and most innovative indigenous clean energy solutions providers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”