Wetility, a South African startup which offers solar energy solutions for households and businesses, has raised R903 million (~$48 million) in debt and equity.

South African solar energy startup Wetility has raised R903 million (~$48 million) in a funding round comprising debt and equity. According to CEO Vincent Maposa, the funds will be used to accelerate expansion plans and grow its customer base.

The current fundraising comprises R180 million in convertible debt as well as total debt, including a R600 million commercial debt package with landers including Sanlam and “large commercial and development banks”, according to reporting by TechCentral. MultiChoice led the startup’s first venture debt funding via its MultiChoice Accelerator Program which is part of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund in January 2022. The companies also currently have a marketing relationship which has seen Wetility leveraging SuperSport viewership to promote its product.

Founded in 2019, Wetility’s flagship product is an all-encompassing digital solar energy management system that allows users to remotely manage power usage. Marketed as the “360 Wetility Experience”, the system comprises rooftop PV installation or solar panels. The solar panels power the system’s core comprising of a hybrid inverter, lithium-ion batteries and switchgear. PACE, as it is marketed, controls the energy flow to clients’ homes or businesses, managing load shedding and switching schedules. The information is then available on a dashboard referred to as “We-X” where users can remotely monitor the system and make subscription payments.

“Our recent fundraising is a pivotal moment for Wetility. It’s a testament to the trust and confidence our customers, investors and commercial partners have in our vision. This capital infusion provides us with the means to accelerate our growth and make a substantial impact in the South Africa and power fintech space,” Johanna Hortz, chief of staff at Wetility, told TechCabal via email.

Responding to a question from TechCabal on why the company raised the majority of the funding in debt, Hortz stated the capital-intensive nature of the sector and the significance of making hybrid solar affordable through subscriptions was a motivating factor.

“To support these initiatives, having a strong balance sheet and maintaining good levels of gearing is essential,” she added. “While debt-to-equity ratios are important, they must be carefully managed to ensure financial stability while pursuing ambitious growth strategies in a capital-intensive sector like ours.”

Wetility states that it aims to grow from a $1.5 million (~R29 million) business to a $142 million (~R2.7 billion) business by 2026. With the end to Eskom’s problems nowhere in sight and with new capital injection, it seems like the company might be on track to reach that milestone as South Africans seek alternatives to the faltering national grid.

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