Quantcast

DiCaprio Backs Solar Firm Offering Low-Cost Clean Energy to Rural Communities

Renewable Energy
Guatemalan startup aims to provide power to 1.2 billion people around the world do not have access to the grid. Kingo / Twitter

Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined Kingo—a Guatemala-based business that provides low-cost solar energy kits for off-grid communities—as an investor and member of its board of advisors.

"Solar power is key to a future without fossil fuels, and Kingo's technology will help enable broad use of clean energy across the developing world," DiCaprio said in a statement. "I am proud to invest in Kingo as they seek to eradicate energy poverty, and I look forward to serving as an advisor to the company."


Kingo offers a range of pay-as-you-go kits consisting of light bulbs, photovoltaic panels and a battery that can store electricity generated during the day.

Its prices are competitive compared with the cost of buying candles every day, and also eliminate the need for polluting alternatives such as kerosene and diesel. Users do not have to pay installation fees or maintenance costs.

Since its founding in 2013, Kingo has serviced more than 60,000 households around the world and has installed around 7,000 new systems each month, the company touts. Its mission is to help provide clean, affordable energy for the 1.2 billion people worldwide who do not have access to the power grid.

"Seventeen percent of the world's population still lacks access to power. Access to electricity represents one of the biggest restrictions for progress, as it is the base for all productive activity," Kingo founder and CEO Juan Fermín Rodriguez, who grew up in Guatemala, said in an interview last year.

"We aim not only to eradicate the lack of access to electricity, but also to play a spearheading role in the transition from the world's energy consumption in becoming 100 percent renewable."

To date, Kingo has raised $25 million in several equity and debt rounds led by prominent investors and institutions, including the largest utility in Europe (ENGIE Rassembleurs d'Energies), one of the largest utilities in Latin America (FCP), PeopleFund, the Dutch Development Bank, the French Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. DiCaprio's investment amount was not disclosed.

"We are honored to have Leonardo DiCaprio, someone who is seriously committed to addressing climate and environment-related causes, invest in Kingo and join our board of advisors," said Rodriguez in a statement.

"Leo will help advise Kingo as we work to achieve growth through expanded R&D capabilities and new market entry strategies. We remain committed to developing innovative solutions to the 1.2 billion people who currently live in the dark."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixnio

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many types of flour are commonly available on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Read More Show Less
A visitor views a digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Genetics are significantly more responsible for driving autism spectrum disorders than maternal factors or environmental factors such as vaccines and chemicals, according to a massive new study involving more than 2 million people from five different countries.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Across the globe, extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Read More Show Less