Oorja, a decentralized solar solutions provider, has completed its US$1 million seed funding round with equity investment from Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia (SEEAA) and grant funding from Water & Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) and the DOEN Foundation. The company shall utilize this capital for clean energy infrastructure projects in the field of agriculture and to expand operations and the team in northern India.
Oorja aims to empower 10 million farmers globally by 2030 with the agricultural services they need to sustainably increase their income and quality of life. Its solar-powered, pay-per-use solutions bring down the cost of irrigation, milling, and cooling services for smallholder farmers that were previously reliant on diesel engines for their on-farm energy needs.
Oorja has pioneered an inclusive pay-per-use model for productive-use appliances. Users pay based on the volume of irrigation water used or the quantity of grains processed or produce stored.
The funding will help Oorja scale its operations in existing and new markets in India over the next 18 months. The company will expand its customer base in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It looks to deploy 121 solar projects concentrated in 22 Clusters impacting up to 6,000 low-income households by December 2022. It will also bring onboard new talent at the middle and senior management levels.
Oorja’s customers are one-acre farmers with a monthly income of less than $100 per month. They can save up to 50% by transitioning from diesel to Oorja’s services.
“This infusion of capital will be catalytic in expanding Oorja’s footprint in the agriculture and cleantech sectors,” remarked Oorja’s CEO, Amit Saraogi, and CTO, Dr Clementine Chambon. “We strongly believe that innovative business models are needed to bring income-enhancing technologies to farmers. We are looking forward to growing the company together with SEEAA, WE4F, and DOEN to propel the company to its next phase of growth, to attract further institutional capital and scale up to other emerging markets.”
Gilles Vermot Desroches, President of SEEA Asia and SVP of Corporate Citizenship & Institutional Affairs at Schneider Electric, stated: “We are delighted to invest in Oorja as we believe it is a very impactful company, contributing in a holistic manner to the energy transition, food security, and poverty alleviation. Led by a strong and engaged team, the company not only provides essential agri-services using clean energy, but also makes them affordable to smallholder farmers, thereby improving their livelihoods.”
Oorja was supported by Cross Border Growth Capital in structuring the transaction.
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