[Funding alert] Shell acquires 20 pc stake in Bengaluru-based solar power firm Orb Energy

Solar power company Orb Energy says the fresh investment by Shell's New Energies business will help more Indian SMEs, a largely underserved part of the market, benefit from lower-cost solar power.

Orb Energy, a Bengaluru-based provider of solar energy solutions in India, on Thursday announced that Shell’s New Energies business has acquired an almost 20 percent stake in the firm in its latest funding round. 


Founded in 2006 by Damian Miller and NP Ramesh, Orb Energy offers credit to SMEs to invest in their own rooftop solar systems. In a statement, the company said the fresh investment would help more Indian SMEs – a largely underserved part of the market – benefit from lower-cost solar power.


Damian Miller, Orb Energy’s Chief Executive Officer said,


“Shell’s investment will power the next phase of our growth and ensure that more underserved SMEs in India can benefit from clean, lower-cost electricity from solar.”

Since inception, the startup has sold more than 160,000 solar systems in India, with a total capacity of approximately 75 megawatts.  Orb Energy, which employs 250 people in India, also has operations in Kenya, where it is seeking to replicate its India model. 


Brian Davis, Vice President, Shell Energy Solutions, said, 


“We were attracted by Orb Energy’s focus on providing cleaner and affordable energy solutions to SMEs in India. This is a vital and growing sector, with great potential to contribute to the country’s renewable energy ambitions.”

“We look forward to supporting this company in reaching its potential, as we move closer to Shell’s energy access ambition. That is, to provide a reliable electricity supply to 100 million people in the developing world by 2030,” he added.

Existing investors in Orb Energy include FMO (The Netherlands), Bamboo Capital Partners (Luxembourg), Rianta Capital (Switzerland), Acumen Capital Market Funds I (US), and Pamiga SA (Luxembourg).


According to a media report, the company has so far received $13 million in equity and $10 million debt in Series A and Series B rounds. It is now planning to raise Rs 220 crore (a mix of equity and debt) funding from both new and existing investors, the report added.


Unitus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Orb Energy for this transaction.


Shell’s New Energies business was created in 2016 and affected this investment through Shell Ventures B.V., the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (“Shell”).

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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