NewQuest increases stake in solar firm

The direct secondaries firm first acquired a stake in d.light through its May purchase of Draper Fisher Jurvetson's India portfolio.

NewQuest Capital Partners has boosted its holding in d.light, a solar power company it picked up when it acquired venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s (DFJ) India portfolio this year.

The Hong Kong-headquartered direct secondaries firm invested an undisclosed sum in the latest financing round of San Francisco-based d.light, according to a statement.

“Consumer financing for solar home systems makes the technology significantly more affordable for our customers,” d.light chief financial officer Kamal Lath said. “This funding will enable more families and business owners to enjoy access to the affordable, clean and reliable solar energy solutions they need to improve their quality of life.”

NewQuest used its 2013-vintage NewQuest Asia Fund II in May to purchase DFJ’s entire India portfolio, valued at under $300 million. The deal reportedly included stakes in about 10 companies including travel site Cleartrip and electronics recycling management firm Attero Recycling.

In early September, NewQuest made its first deal from its latest fund, $540 million NewQuest Asia Fund III, acquiring back-office outsourcing firm Integreon from Actis and Philippine corporation Ayala.

d.light is a for-profit social enterprise that provides affordable solar lighting and power products in emerging markets, according to the statement. The company has five distribution hubs in East Africa, West Africa, India, South-East Asia and the US that have served more than 65 million people in off-grid rural areas.

NewQuest’s investment will be used to enlarge its pay-as-you-go mobile financing platform, expand the commercial roll-out of its D30 solar home system and bring products to market.

d.light has raised a total $22.5 million in its latest round of financing. NewQuest, KawiSafi Ventures fund, Energy Access Ventures and Omidyar Network invested a combined $15 million, while $2.5 million in debt funding was raised through solar finance business SunFunder.

An additional $5 million was raised from Shell Foundation, the US Agency for International Development-Development Innovation Ventures, and United Nations Capital Development Fund.