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DBL Partners and ZOLA Electric Announce Nigeria Expansion at Global Climate Action Summit


San Francisco, CA (September 11, 2018) — DBL Partners and its portfolio company ZOLA Electric (“ZOLA”), formerly Off Grid Electric, today announced a Global Climate Action Summit pledge to expand energy access in Nigeria through PAYGo Solar and displace the negative climate and health effects of fossil-fuel powered generators. In Q4, 2018, ZOLA Electric will expand its PAYGo distributed solar energy model and launch an affordable renewable energy alternative available to Nigerians. ZOLA’s target is to deliver clean energy access to 1 million households and businesses in Nigeria over the next three years. This ambitious expansion is focused on delivering Global Climate Action Summit goals of energy access and driving the transition to clean renewable energy.

“Our objective, and expectation, at ZOLA is to displace fossil fuel generation through cost, convenience and carbon emission superiority” said Bill Lenihan, Co-CEO at ZOLA Electric.

“A major component of addressing global climate change is the imperative to transition the continent with the fastest growing population – Africa – to clean energy, and we are excited for ZOLA Electric to bring its comprehensive PAYGo solar approach to Nigeria” said Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner and Founder, DBL Partners.

Nigeria is a rapidly expanding economic powerhouse, with population growth tipped to surpass the United States by 2050. It is Africa’s largest economy and its biggest oil producer. Despite this, the Nigerian electrical grid is unable to meet its citizens’ basic energy demands. Power from the grid is unreliable and expensive and this has driven more than 100 million Nigerians to rely on diesel generators to power their basic energy needs in their homes or apartments.[1] While diesel generators provide energy autonomy and reliability, they are highly-polluting and expensive to run. Estimates of climate impact calculate that diesel generators in Nigeria produce about 29 million metric tons of CO2 each year[2] — the emissions equivalent of roughly 6.3 million passenger vehicles.[3] Ambient air pollution from diesel generators is a significant risk to human health. The WHO attributes 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year to exposure to ambient air pollution.[4]

ZOLA’s expansion will allow Nigerian consumers to access solar energy and storage for a monthly price that is less than the average energy outlay on diesel generators. By combining PAYGo micro-finance leasing and mobile money payments, ZOLA’s energy access model is adaptable to energy need and income and promotes financial inclusion.

The first few watts start a chain reaction that enables people to achieve commonly held aspirations: security, education and access to information. Energy access is a key precursor for the economic and educational empowerment of women and girls. Reliable solar energy can help Nigerians to light their homes, power small businesses and stay connected by harnessing the clean, renewable power of the sun.

About ZOLA Electric

ZOLA Electric (formerly Off Grid Electric) is the leading renewable energy brand in Africa, helping customers to light their homes, power small businesses, stay connected and expand opportunities for work and study. By providing solar technology that is affordable, accessible and reliable, ZOLA Electric’s offerings allow the average home or business to leapfrog the grid. ZOLA Electric designs renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology. Adaptable to energy need and income, ZOLA Electric’s solar systems can be bought over time using PAYGo micro-finance leasing and mobile money payments. ZOLA Electric powers more than 180,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana. Investors include DBL Partners, Tesla, Vulcan Capital, Helios Investment Partners, EDF, Total, and GE Ventures. ZOLA Electric is a recipient of the  UN Momentum for Change Award, the Zayed Future Energy Prize and is a member of the Global Cleantech 100.

About DBL Partners

DBL Partners was formed with a “Double Bottom Line” investment strategy to invest in companies that can deliver top-tier venture capital financial returns (First Bottom Line), while working with our companies to enable social, environmental and economic improvement in the regions in which they operate (Second Bottom Line).

DBL Partners uses venture capital to accelerate innovation in a way that positively affects an organization’s social and environmental impact, as well as its financial success. The firm strongly believes that these two drivers –positive social change and a healthy financial performance– are inherently connected. DBL invests in and helps nurture outstanding entrepreneurs and companies in Cleantech, Information Technology, Sustainable Products and Services, and Healthcare.




[1] Ferrero, V. Developing Clean Energy in Nigeria: Data-Centric Solutions for a Solar-Hybrid Company (2018) at