The UK-based startup BuffaloGrid has secured a total of £3.4 million in a funding round led by Local Globe combined with a £1.6 million grant under the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. The company plans to use the money to scale up production of its solar chargers.
BuffaloGrid's community-based solar-powered chargers are there to provide access to power for off-grid communities. The company's estimation is that a total of 1.2 billion people still live without access to electricity. The market is worth $2.8 billion globally and $1.1 billion in India, where electricity is not available to over 240 million people living in some 1.9 million villages.
BuffaloGrid is running pilot programs in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh with Airtel, one of India’s largest mobile network operators, and Sahaj eVillage, a retailer that works in rural areas of the country. The companies provide free mobile charging for people visiting their stores.
The startup plans to scale its developments across India and expects that more than a million people in the country will have used its technology by 2020. It's also gearing up towards expanding into the markets of Sub-Saharan Africa and South America.