Here at Odyssey we pack A LOT into one year. Our company mission is ambitious – to scale the distributed renewable energy (DRE) sector by being the technology backbone for every phase of project development. This means connecting solar companies to finance, helping them procure equipment, and providing tools to streamline project operations and maintenance. December is a great time to look back at the past 12 months and remember everything we’ve accomplished, as well as look forward to how we can continue to support the solar revolution in the coming year.
Let’s start by looking at our work related to solar finance
As the economics of solar continue to improve, more commercial investors are committing funds to DRE investment opportunities. Odyssey’s tools are perfectly suited to guide financiers of all kinds in assessing, diligencing and monitoring projects. As more financiers join the clean energy transition in emerging markets, we remain committed to driving investment into bankable projects by streamlining data, building trust in the sector and ensuring that both financiers and solar developers can deploy more projects, faster.
In 2023 we launched a suite of free tools, Odyssey C&I, that allow solar companies to enter project data on the Odyssey platform and seamlessly build investor-ready financial models. These tools make building financial models simple: what once was a costly endeavor, often requiring consultants, is now a task they can accomplish themselves using free tools in minutes or a few hours. For financiers, the tools mean more streamlined data, which simplifies due diligence and makes it easier to understand the opportunities at hand. Over 1,600 solar companies and financiers signed up for our free courses about C&I financial modeling and many of them are now using our tools.
Despite the growing amount of commercial finance entering the sector, concessional financiers still have a huge role to play in the energy transition. At Odyssey we have not slowed down our support of partners such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, FCDO, CEI Africa and others, who disbursed over $134 million in financing to renewable energy companies via the Odyssey platform this past year. That funding has paved the way for companies to submit 250MW worth of solar PV capacity and more than 2.3 million new connections on the platform. This past year our software pulled data from over 4.7 million smart meters and solar home systems, tracking and verifying live connections, building trust for funders that the money they delivered to solar companies has resulted in clean electricity reaching end-users. Overall, these projects have improved the lives of over 15 million people across Sub Saharan Africa and beyond.
Next, let’s take a look at Odyssey Procure
Solar companies face many challenges when it comes to equipment procurement. To name just a few: accessing equipment at fair prices, having trusted resources available for technical design support, and dealing with onerous import processes. All these burdens cost renewable energy companies time and money that would be better spent scaling their businesses.
In 2023 we made huge strides in becoming part of the solution by launching Odyssey Procure, a platform for solar companies in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to access equipment, finance, great warranties, wholesale prices, technical support and more.
To bring this to life, we hired an expert team from across Africa, created entities, brought warehouses online, and worked with local governments to acquire paperwork to ensure smooth importations. We signed partnership agreements with many of the most well-known names in solar manufacturing like Huawei, Longi, Growatt, Atess, Jinko (to name a few!) to ensure we can offer the best prices in the markets where we operate. We offered dozens of classes with our OEM partners so solar companies could get their questions answered and learn more about commissioning and installing different solar products.
Marrying our equipment expertise with our history of finance support, we worked with a number of local banks to make over $100M of equipment finance available to developers in Nigeria and Kenya, partnering with trusted renewable energy associations, REAN (Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria) and KEREA (Kenya Renewable Energy Association) to give special terms to their members.
We advanced the Demand Aggregation for Renewable Technology (DART) Programme as launched in collaboration with GEAPP and All-On in 2022. The DART Program combines demand pooling and aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, access to affordable finance, and coordinated logistics to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. In good news, our program partners committed an additional $15 million at COP28 and we look forward to continuing to support developers through DART in 2024.
We’re proud to say that within one year of opening Odyssey Procure we’ve helped dozens of solar companies finance and acquire batteries, inverters and panels, while supporting them with technical design and importation, allowing them to focus on their core business of electrifying businesses, homes and communities.
Remote Monitoring & Control
Finance and procurement are all about getting projects off the ground – but what about projects that have been built? We believe that operations and maintenance plays a crucial role in the clean energy transition because, at the end of the day, ensuring energy production continues at peak efficiency is just as important as building new projects.
Our Remote Monitoring & Control business continues to expand and offer critical solutions to DRE companies around the world. We launched FernHybrid, which makes it easy to turn Solar PV systems into hybrid Solar PV/Diesel genset systems, ensuring continuous power generation. We also welcomed many high impact companies to our community. To share just a few examples, we’re supporting companies working on projects like cold storage of fruits and vegetables in Nigeria, another that specializes in water treatment across East Africa, and a company building cutting edge PV / green hydrogen hybrid systems in South Africa. Overall we’re monitoring thousands of assets in 60+ countries, contributing to high asset performance and lower O&M costs.
Odyssey Company Community and Culture
It wouldn’t be a complete look-back if we didn’t talk about what happened inside of our company too. 2023 represented a lot of growth for our business externally and internally. We started the year by raising a Series A financing round from some of the world’s best investors who believe in what we’re building. We continue to be grateful for their support and guidance as we grow the business.
We believe that our success will only be as great as our ability to build a strong team that is united in our mission. Because we are a fully distributed company, building connections between teams and timezones requires intentionality. Despite being a remote company, we found many opportunities to get together in person for conferences and team offsites. We launched learning and development initiatives, including one that allows Odyssians (as we like to call ourselves) to apply for funding to take courses related to their roles at the company. We hosted a “Career and Life AMA” series that invited different people from across the company to share about their professional paths. We had cooking contests, played trivia games, started a daily Wordle competition, elected Core Values champions and gave over 1,000 shoutouts to members on our team! Our team size almost doubled in the past 12 months and we’re happy to say that we feel as connected as we ever did.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. If anything you saw piqued your interest, we’d love to hear from you. In 2024, let’s accelerate the clean energy transition together.