How investing in solar pioneers can transform lives

We’re happy to announce our new partnership with Acumen to power communities in India and East and West Africa with renewable energy.

The IKEA Foundation is supporting Acumen’s new Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative (PEII+). This will help people living in poverty improve their livelihoods and increase their income and climate resilience.

PEII+ will invest in companies that supply affordable solar-powered appliances—such as cold rooms, water pumps and electric motorbikes—to communities that currently don’t have access to reliable, modern and sustainable energy.

Investment gap

Most of the world’s communities living in poverty rural and young. Living without reliable access to energy is a major barrier to rising out of poverty. And although investment in renewable energy is increasing, there’s still a lack of financing for pioneering companies that provide solar appliances and solutions

Acumen will invest in around 10 new enterprises in East and West Africa and India that supply solar appliances to improve people’s livelihoods. By providing early-stage capital and tailored technical assistance, Acumen will help these enterprises grow and prove they are viable, scalable, and can attract further investment. At a systemic level, Acumen’s effort is directed to crowd-in investors in the productive use solar segment.

Game-changing solutions

Renewable energy-powered appliances have the potential to more than double incomes by saving time, improving yields and enhancing resilience. They are sometimes called “productive use appliances” because they help people make their livelihoods more productive.

A solar-powered water pump can be game-changing for smallholder farmers who depend on costly diesel generators to irrigate their land. A solar-powered refrigerator can increase income for a small shop owner who can keep fish, poultry, dairy and drinks cool for their customers while avoiding food waste.

And with climate change creating more uncertainty in vulnerable communities, self-sustaining income is more important than ever. The renewable energy solutions that Acumen plans to invest in will help people lift themselves out of poverty and protect the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Early-stage capital

Sarah Bieber, Head of Energy Partnerships at Acumen, says: “Productive use appliance companies have the potential to transform livelihoods but lack access to investment capital to support their growth. Alongside our partners, we will continue to invest high-risk, early-stage capital in this next generation of innovations.”

Biswarup Banerjee, Renewable Energy Programme Manager at the IKEA Foundation, says: “Energy access influences many factors people need to enjoy a decent quality of life. That’s why we’re championing Acumen’s PEII+ programme, that will invest in expanding the market for renewable energy solutions.”


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