About SolarNow

We are a for profit social business with Dutch origins, passionate about transforming lives by providing high quality solar energy and financing solutions in East Africa.

2011

The year SolarNow was founded

46

Current number of SolarNow branches across Uganda with further growth in East Africa soon

106

Average SolarNow Watt Power system size

Our Mission

Transform the lives of East Africans

We want to transform the lives of East Africans by being our clients’ energy partner for life. We aim to ensure every client continuously upgrades their system over time to include the latest SolarNow solutions for their home, farm, school, health centre or business. To achieve this, we promise to provide a wide and expanding choice of high quality solutions that our clients want and need.

Address the huge market need for energy in East Africa with quality solutions

We’re committed to addressing the huge unmet market need for energy in East Africa as an organisation focused on quality. For us, quality isn’t just about products. It’s about trust and relationships. We promise to be there for our clients in the moments that count: deciding to join our community, upgrading, referring family and friends and in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

Make quality solar accessible through affordable finance

We believe that access to finance is the key to spreading solar. This is why we’re committed to offering affordable and flexible credit with every solar solution. Our experience in providing financing with quality solar products is unparalleled in the Ugandan market. We aim to keep it that way and expand our presence in East Africa.

SolarNow Management Team

Willem Nolens

Chief Executive Officer

“I love the impact we make: supporting our people to grow into client-focused committed professionals and empowering our clients through poverty reduction, employment creation and sustainable development.”

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Willem has over 19 years experience in establishing and managing social enterprises in Africa, in particular in the field of microfinance and renewables. In 2001, Willem co-founded ProCredit Bank Ghana and then later became the MD. He also co-founded Catalyst Microfinance Investors (CMI), a USD 125m private equity fund investing in microfinance Institutions in Africa and Asia and from that co-founded ASA International, a network of Greenfield MFIs. In 2010, Willem transformed the award-winning Rural Energy Foundation into SolarNow and has served as CEO since its inception.

Willem enjoys windsurfing and discovering new parts of the Ugandan countryside with his wife and three children.

Peter Huisman

Chief Technology Officer

“It’s fantastic to see that with so many great individuals we have built a sustainable solar business that is here is to last and continues to give more and more people the opportunity to create a better life for themselves!”

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Peter is an electrical engineer and research & development professional with over 12 years of experience. Peter began his career as a researcher at TNO, a Dutch research organization that believes in the joint creation of economic and social value. In 2009, Peter formed part of the original team at the Rural Energy Foundation (REF) as Country Coordinator in Tanzania. Since the transformation of REF into SolarNow, Peter has been in charge of a variety of functions from its very beginnings across R&D, IT, Operations, Finance and Logistics.

Peter enjoys squash and cycling as well as keeping up to date with the latest technology trends.

Ronald Schuurhuizen

Chief Commercial Officer

“Being able to contribute to a catalysing clean energy access and thereby a better planet and the same socio-economic opportunities for all is a childhood dream.”

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Ronald is the longest serving employee of SolarNow with over eleven years of experience in solar energy market development in Africa. Ronald was the Regional Coordination for East Africa whilst at the Rural Energy Foundation, managing teams throughout Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique implementing a market development strategy for solar and renewable energy technology diffusion. Since SolarNow’s inception in 2011, co-founder Ronald has held a variety of roles across Sales, Marketing, Operations, International Sourcing, Business Development, General Management, and is currently the Commercial Director.

Ronald keeps himself busy with his young son and daughter and enjoys traveling, reading and immersing himself in new ideas.

Austin Harris

Chief Operations Officer

“Today, more people in the world live without electrical lighting than when the light bulb was invented. I’m proud to be supplying energy access to our clients, providing them light and ways to improve their standard of living.”

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Austin Harris is a finance, strategy and operations professional with over 13 years of experience. He has
now been living and working in East Africa for over 5 years. He began his career in Mergers & Acquisitions, and then Corporate Banking ranging from startup ventures to Citigroup as well as development projects with the UNDP. He transitioned from corporate banking into microfinance which took him to Bangladesh and Rwanda. A Skoll Scholar, he completed his MBA at Oxford Said Business School and most recently worked for Off Grid Electric in Tanzania and Rwanda.

Stemming from his Californian roots, Austin loves outdoor sports, including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

John Kizito

Risk Management

“After 20 years abroad, I’m motivated to make an impact in my home country. For me, this means committing to making a difference in the lives of others.”

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John has over 20 years’ experience in accounting, auditing and tax law. He moved from Uganda to the US to complete his studies including a Masters Degrees in Accounting and Tax Law and worked for the United Nations as an Accountant. He then spent over 10 years working in Accounting and International Tax Law at Discovery Communications and a private Tax Law Practice before returning to Uganda to join SolarNow as head of Risk Management.

John enjoys gardening, a good barbeque and research.

SolarNow Supervisory Board

Emma Schofield

Chair

Emma is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK, currently based in Nairobi, Kenya where she leads the development of PwC’s business with international donors across East Africa. Emma worked as a business mentor for SolarNow in 2014 and thereafter joined the Supervisory Board, taking up the role of Chair.

Andrew Carruthers

Board Member

Andrew is a Venture Capital investor and Managing Partner at Novastar Ventures Ltd. He was also a founder of SPARK Ventures, one of the UK’s leading early stage venture capital firms. For the last 17 years he has managed venture funds investing across Europe, India and China, launching a number of well-known technology and biomedical companies in the process.

Miguel Granier

Board Member

Miguel is the Founder and Executive Director of Invested Development, an impact investment fund manager specializing in early stage mobile, alternative energy, and agriculture technology startups. Before founding ID, Miguel, was the founding Investment Manager for First Light Ventures and founder of MCAP Consulting.

Jan Willem van der Velden

Board Member

Jan Willem van der Velden is a lawyer with over 20 years of experience. He advises investment funds, asset managers and insurance companies both on regulatory issues and on the structuring and restructuring of investment funds, asset pooling and other investment management activities.

Patrick Oketa

Board Member

Patrick is Associate Director of Portfolio at Acumen. His experience spans private equity and project financing. Previous roles include Director of Development Finance at the Uganda Development bank, Partner at Pearl Capital Partners and Chief Investment Officer at African Agricultural Capital.

Our Partners

 
Government-of-the-Netherlands
CRDB- Centenary
AECG
Alphamundi
Novastar
Acumen
Sunfunder

Latest News

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SolarNow raises $9m from Novastar and Shell

Leading off-grid solar company SolarNow today announces its $9 million series-B equity round. This capital allows the Dutch company to scale its distribution in Uganda and Kenya and expand into new markets. Investors include Novastar and Shell. SolarNow…
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SolarNow Enabling IoT To Change Lives Across Africa

Introduction The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting the lives of millions around the world – but none more so than those in Africa. It is for this reason SolarNow, a social business which is passionate about transforming lives by providing…
IMG-20170415-WA0002

SunFunder leads $6m syndicated receivables financing facility for SolarNow

A key pathway for scale in our sector is through syndication – multiple lenders investing together. Today we are delighted to announce the arrangement of a syndication lead by SunFunder with the participation of  responsAbility…
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