US Financial Institution OPIC Pumps USD 85 Mn Initial Funding To SunFunder’s Project Aimed At Improving Energy Access In Africa

By February 25, 2019

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. Government’s development finance institution has pumped funds worth USD 85 Mn to SundFunder’s project Solar Energy Transformation (SET) Fund in a bid to scale up electricity access in Africa as well as Asia.

The Solar Energy Transformation Fund is one of a group of investment vehicles run by SunFunder which is a solar energy finance business with its headquarter in the US and with offices in London and Nairobi.

SundFunder offers borrowers solar market expertise, strong customer partnerships at the same time providing investors with diversified, high-impact, fixed income debt offerings of emerging market solar investments. The US based company envisions to provide solar assets in emerging economies including inventory, working capital construction, and structured finance loans.

Other anchor investors who have pledged to back the SET Fund are Calvert Impact Capital, Ceniarth and the IKEA Foundation. SunFunder has now closed USD 104.5 Mn in its debt funds from 65 investors.

Ray W. Washburne, OPIC President and CEO said, “This project will advance OPIC’s mission of empowering people in some of the world’s poorest countries by bringing affordable electricity to remote areas that are not connected to an electricity grid.” Adding that “As we’ve seen from the additional financing raised, it is also a testament to OPIC’s ability to mobilize additional investment.”

“The IKEA Foundation is supporting SunFunder with a USD 5 mn grant because we believe that helping families access renewable energy will enable them to afford a better everyday life while also protecting the planet,” said Jolanda van Ginkel, Renewable Energy Program Manager at IKEA Foundation.

Jennifer Pryce, President and CEO of Calvert Impact Capital stated, “We’re excited to work with this group of lenders to meet SunFunder’s growing capital needs. Continuing to scale proven fund managers like SunFunder is critical to creating access to capital for local businesses that are leading the energy transformation”

US government is running an initiative dubbed ‘Power Africa’ which is aimed at providing market-driven solutions to advance the goals of the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, to catalyze small businesses, power industry, and bring electricity to millions of people for the first time. It is the reason they are investing in power projects.

Information from the USAID website indicates that Power Africa has to date partnered with 84 power projects comprising more than 7,300 megawatts (MW) reach financial close with a total investment of more than USD14 Bn. Power Africa has helped add over 10 million connections to off-grid, micro-grid, and central grid solutions, which has made it a reality to tens of millions of people who today have access to electricity.

Featured Image Courtesy: OPIC

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