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SparkMeter to modernise distribution utilities in Africa and Asia

Power solutions provider, SparkMeter, announced the closing of a $12 million Series A financing. The latest funding will allow the company to launch its new digital solutions offering, connecting smart grid data insights to business operations for large electricity distribution utilities in emerging markets.

The round was led by Clean Energy Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, alongside Goodwell Investments, in partnership with Alitheia Capital, Total Energy Ventures, and other investors. 

“The team at SparkMeter has developed a disruptive, low-cost and highly impactful grid management solution, enabling utilities in developing countries to simultaneously improve electricity access and mitigate carbon emissions,” said Daniel Goldman, co-founder and managing director of Clean Energy Ventures and SparkMeter board member.

Goldman noted: “Close to one billion people globally live without access to electricity while another billion have unreliable access, and we have an obligation to address this inequity sustainably and cost-effectively. Our team at Clean Energy Ventures believes that SparkMeter’s solution has the potential to mitigate over 2.5 gigatons of CO2e between now and 2050 if widely deployed.”

In emerging markets, microgrid and distribution utilities often struggle with electricity and revenue loss due to non-payment, load management challenges, and sub-optimal customer service.

SparkMeter says its low-cost combination of patented two-way meter communication and smart grid software designed specifically for hard-to-reach and low-consumption end-users improves load management, customer services, and billing. The company is currently operating in over 25 countries with over 100,000 meters sold, with more locations added every day.

Improving operations for distribution utilities

“The lack of access to reliable electricity is a major barrier to economic advancement and empowerment across the globe, and SparkMeter is enabling the deployment of smart grids in these markets to allow utilities to provide better service and thus operate more sustainably,” said Dan Schnitzer, co-founder and CEO of SparkMeter.

Schnitzer noted that with the new digital solutions offering backed by the company’s “proprietary technology, utilities can now go even further towards improving their operations with the market-leading data collection, advanced analytics and grid management tools we provide.”

Many distribution utilities around the world have poor visibility into their distribution systems because they do not combine grid edge data with digital models to measure their performance.

The new digital solution is said to not only provides this visibility, the service is claimed to go even further “enabling utilities to avoid system capital upgrades through customised solutions including non-wires alternatives like distributed energy resources and load management.”

“With utility companies in developing countries struggling to provide power to their communities in a sustainable and profitable way, SparkMeter can assist them in responding to demand, providing greater power reliability and serving as a gateway to clean energy,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

“In Africa, equitable energy access is top of mind for many local communities, and therefore a growing focus for our uMunthu Fund.

According to Mobola da-Silva, Investment Principal at Alitheia Capital, Goodwell Investments West Africa partner, the technology has the potential to revolutionise how to address electricity access in markets like Nigeria and Kenya.

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