Clean energy funding roundup: minigrids, nanogrids, microreactors and batteries


Minigrids in Asia and Africa – $5M

Husk Power Systems, a power company operating renewable energy minigrids in Asia and Africa, announced that Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO has invested $5 million in the startup. The FMO investment followed a $20 million investment in 2018 by Shell, Swedfund and Engie Rassembleurs D’Energies. Husk is “bringing reliable, low-cost electricity to rural entrepreneurs.” The company claims its “grid-interactive solution supports national electrification.” Husk added Royal Dutch Shell’s head of New Energies Mark Gainsborough to its board of directors. Brad Mattson, semiconductor and solar veteran is chairman of the board.

$600M for European lithium-ion battery builder Northvolt

European lithium-ion battery manufacturer Northvolt raised $600 million led by Glasgow-based investment manager Baillie Gifford, alongside existing investors Goldman Sachs, Scania and the IMAS Foundation – sister fund to the Stochting Ingka Foundation co-founded by Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek also invested in the round. Northvolt, which aims to have 150 GWh of annual battery manufacturing capacity operating by 2030, said it would use the cash to expand its production lines and its R&D center as well as helping to establish a battery raw material recycling fab. Read the full rock and roll article here on pv magazine’s global site.

Home solar-plus-battery nanogrid

YouSolar, builder of a home solar-plus-battery nanogrid, closed $1.07 million of equity crowdfunding and “generated a pipeline of new customers in the U.S.,” according to a release. The company’s 90-day campaign on was oversubscribed beyond the $1.07 million federal offering limit of Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) and at least 68 investors have signed up to become customers. The company added Rick Hoskins, a Director at residential solar company Powur and former Managing Director at Genstar Capital, to the YouSolar Board of Directors. The company’s product “has enough power to run an entire house or business,” according to a release, including high-demand appliances such as air conditioners.

More than $20M for micro-reactor startup

As we reported last week, Oklo has amassed more than $20 million since 2013 for an advanced fission micro-reactor to compete against diesel gensets in remote and island communities. Oklo has managed to submit a combined license application for the design and operation of a “compact fast micro-reactor,” which is currently under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Last year, the company received a first-of-its-kind site permit to build its initial plant on a quarter-acre site at Idaho National Labs. Oklo is trying to commercialize nuclear power with a different fuel, different coolant and radically different scale than the shrinking number of massive light water reactors that comprise the commercial U.S. nuclear fleet. It’s a deep technological challenge with immense regulatory risk.

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