Orb Energy to double panel manufacturing, raise $55 million

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A vertically-integrated company, Orb manufactures its own solar PV panels and solar water heating systems through two manufacturing plants in India. The PV plant was set up 1.5 years ago. It now aims to increase capacity from 60 MW to 120 MW.

Regarding financing, Damian Miller, co-founder and CEO of Orb Energy, told pv magazine, “We are in talks to raise $10-15 million of equity investment and an additional $40 million of debt over the next three years.”

Since its inception in 2006, Orb Energy has raised a total of $23 million in equity and debt. Earlier this year, the company received $15 million from the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Additionally, it has raised more than $1 million for its solar operations in Kenya, where the company has sold more than 10,000 systems since 2014.

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

Founded in 2006, and catering primarily to the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Orb Energy has sold nearly 160,000 solar systems to date. It has a cumulative capacity of more than 40 MW rooftop solar systems installed. The company aims to touch the Rs 150 crore mark this fiscal, which will be a 40% hike from the previous fiscal’s Rs 107 crore.

“Our growth is driven primarily by SME demand for rooftop solar power which will touch the 12 GW mark in the next five years. To enable SMEs to afford solar, we have set-up an in-house finance facility to provide extended payment terms to commercial and industrial customers.

“With a 25% down payment, an SME can purchase a rooftop solar system from Orb. The remaining 75% is then paid over 3-4 years. Orb tries to align the tenure of the finance with the payback period to the SME. In the past two years, we have extended Rs 30 crore in loans to over 50 SMEs and have served over 500 SMEs to date, ” Miller told pv magazine.

When amortized over a 25-year period, Orb’s rooftop solar solutions for commercial and industrial customers reduce the cost of electricity to approximately Rs.3 per unit or less, which is much lower than the national average of Rs 7.40 per unit.