WATT Renewable, a private independent clean energy producer aims to raise as much as $100 million by the end of 2024 to expand its business of providing solar power, mainly to telecommunications towers in Nigeria.
Sherisse Alexander, chief investment officer of WATT Renewable told Bloomberg that the company has installed 12 megawatts of generation capacity at about 160 sites and has a pipeline of projects 10 times that size.
According to Alexander, the Canadian company would prefer a major investor to take a stake but will finance projects individually if need be.
“What we are looking at is a corporate raise. WATT is talking to companies that are already involved in the energy industry that have an understanding of renewable energy and specifically the African market,” she said.
WATT is one of a number of energy startups trying to provide power solutions in Africa, where about 600 million people, or half the population, have no access to electricity. Businesses across the continent are offering services ranging from mini-grids to small hydro plants to reach areas that aren’t connected to national grids.
The company, which entered the West African market in 2018, initially planned to set up mini-grids for rural communities, but soon saw the opportunity to provide reliable power systems for corporate customers.
“We made our foray into the telecommunications industry where we transition telecommunication providers and towers from diesel-generated power over to a solar hybrid solution,” Alexander said.
One of its main customers is Pan African Towers Ltd., a Nigerian provider of masts. In addition to telecommunications, WATT has also focused on financial institutions and some commercial and industrial companies.
The company lists 401 projects on its website, some of which are up and running, but most are in development. Of those all but 14 are in Nigeria, with the company having 13 projects in Canada and one in Texas.
The need to raise money means that shareholders, including Oluwole Eweje the founder and chief executive officer, will reduce their stakes, the report said.
“Given the capital that we are looking to raise for our extensive pipeline of business, their shareholding will be diluted,” Alexander said. “It is in the best interest of future project development and deployment.”