Paras Patel attended Nest’s #WhatsNextEnergy as a panellist, hosted at Mettā, Nairobi on 13th October 2017.
The event focused on the renewable energy space in Sub-Saharan Africa, with panellists who specialise along different points on the value chain within distinct energy niches.
Paras centred his responses around the solar home system space, given his expertise in this field, having investments in and managing three portfolio companies in this area. He spoke about the milestones in the solar home system market crediting innovative business models and practical financing solutions as key pillars to their success.
Additionally, Paras highlighted that the solar home system market still has the potential for further growth, as large private equity funds and other institutional investors are starting to dip their toes into this space as business models and technologies have largely been de-risked. However, Paras did also recognise that although the market will see some exits, it will have some failures too.
Nevertheless, he emphasised the importance for companies within the renewable energy space to not only focus on social impact but also have business models that are commercially viable – these are essential ingredients for attracting private investment and creating sustainable impact.
When concluding, Paras spoke a bit about ‘what’s next’ in the energy space. Solar home systems were just the first wave of investments for EAV. He underlined EAVs broad investment universe within the energy space stating that “EAV is now looking at investing in companies that enhance the productive uses of electricity in other sectors including agriculture, healthcare, mobility etc. In addition, we are looking at the innovative business models that bring the benefits of electricity to off-grid areas, such as in the connectivity space.”
Ultimately, Paras outlined the broad scope of the energy nexus with applications in agtech, edtech, healthtech, watertech, robotics, artificial intelligence and energy management software, to name a few.