International Association of Investors in the Social Economy
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Schneider Electric Energy Access (SEEA) Fund invests in One Degree Solar, a social business that manufactures and distributes micro-solar products to improve access to energy and living conditions in low-income communities across Africa

Rueil-Malmaison (France), August 26th, 2013 – Schneider Electric Energy Access Fund announces that it has secured an investment with One Degree Solar.

Founded in 2011, One Degree Solar (ODS) is a technology company that manufactures and wholesales solar products designed to improve access to energy and connectivity in areas without reliable access to electricity. ODS operates in Kenya and has developed the “BrightBox”, a solar-powered battery kit that powers light bulbs, phones, radios, and other USB devices.

One Degree Solar strategy is built on selling through a network of local distributors, entrepreneurs, and community based organizations, whose channels allow products to reach even the most remote end users, including tea farmers and flowers farmers in rural areas.

Ensuring customer satisfaction is a core of the ODS model, thus the network of resellers is trained on customer support and repair. A free SMS platform that helps provide customer service for end-users was developed to maintain strong after sales support and follow customers’ needs.

In order to increase their footprint and ability to scale up, ODS forged partnerships with institutions including KIVA social microfinance and major companies such as Coca Cola, and now Schneider Electric, to empower thousands of off-grid households and entrepreneurs in Kenya. An on-field research conducted by Nielsen proved that the utilization of ODS’ system increases entrepreneurs’ revenues by 15%, reduces kerosene spending by 90%, and improved safety, productive hours, security, and customer traffic.

As a reaction to this new partnership, Gilles Vermont Desroches, Sustainability Senior Vice-President of Schneider Electric and President of SEEA SAS, explained: “This investment is a confirmation of our dedication to promoting access to electricity through impact investing. We are confident that thanks to One Degree Solar thousands of African street business owners will see an improvement in their income.”

We are very pleased to welcome Schneider Electric as a long-term strategic partner and investor. The company brings invaluable resources that will expedite our growth and help provide energy and mobile connectivity to millions without electricity." said Gaurav Manchanda, the Chief Executive Officer of One Degree Solar.

Since 2009, the Schneider Electric Energy Access (SEEA) Fund aims at supporting the development of entrepreneurial initiatives around access to energy having an impact on people’s lives at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

SEEA is part of Schneider Electric’ BipBop programme (www.schneider-electric.com/bipbop) that aims at bringing safe, reliable and green electricity to people at the “Base of the Pyramid”.

¹Acronym standing for Business, Innovation & People at the Base Of the Pyramid.

About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group's 140,000 plus employees achieved revenues of 24 billion euros in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.
www.schneider-electric.com/bipbop

About One Degree Solar
One Degree Solar (ODS) is a venture-backed technology company that manufactures and wholesales solar products designed to power the modern lifestyle. Recognizing that access to affordable energy improves quality of life, ODS works for the millions of individuals, households, and small businesses that demand convenient, reliable power for phones, radios, lights, and entertainment.
http://onedegreesolar.com/

More info on the CocaCola partnership:
http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/let-there-be-light-bringing-solar-power-to-rural-retailers-in-kenya

And national TV coverage in Kenya:
http://k24tv.co.ke/?p=1852

An Earthrise episode aired on Al Jazeera TV showing ODS’ BrightBox social impact:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP5MOJ8CpNI&feature=share&list=TLMTdWoi5GmUc

More info on ODS’ social impact on Schneider Electric BipBop Map!
http://www.bipbop-energy.com/