Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will deploy debt finance for solar in African and Asia.
WASHINGTON, D.C.–SunFunder today announced the first close of its new $50 million “Beyond The Grid Solar Fund”, expanding its debt finance solutions for solar projects and companies in emerging markets.
“The Beyond The Grid Solar Fund marks a new and exciting chapter for SunFunder. It enables us to increase our finance offerings for emerging market solar companies and projects, in lock-step with the growth of the sector,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer.
The anchor investors are the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), MCE Social Capital and The Rockefeller Foundation. “OPIC, The Rockefeller Foundation, and MCE Social Capital have been great partners to work with and we’re thrilled to have them as long-term investors,” said Alycia Kellman, SunFunder’s Chief Counsel.
“OPIC is proud to partner with SunFunder in delivering innovative financing solutions for off-grid and
grid-deficit solar energy in developing countries,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The fund will facilitate access to financing by companies that provide clean energy products and services.”
“Providing electricity for the 1.2 billion people who currently lack access is a priority area for The Rockefeller Foundation,” said Brinda Ganguly, senior associate director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We are proud to support this first of its kind debt facility that has the potential to unlock millions of dollars for companies and projects serving the energy needs of millions worldwide.”
The first close amounts to nearly $21 million, which SunFunder will start deploying immediately. SunFunder provides inventory/working capital loans, receivables financing and project financing to manufacturers, distributors, developers, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and India.
“The BTG fund will finance our strong pipeline of off-grid solar transactions. It allows us to expand some of our new financial products for the sector, such as SAFI, our structured receivables finance solution for pay-as-you-go solar companies, and move into commercial-scale project financings,” said Levinson.
“From here, we will be mobilizing more commercial debt investors in the near future, as we grow to deploy hundreds of millions, and then billions, of dollars for solar in emerging markets. We see a huge opportunity in beyond the grid solar.” There are 1.2 billion people in developing countries with no access to electricity, while another billion only have unreliable access.
SunFunder is a specialist solar finance company that unlocks capital for off-grid and grid deficit solar projects around the world. It offers investors the opportunity to invest in a diversified, vetted, and high impact portfolio of solar loans. Its deep knowledge of the market allows it to tailor lending products for the sector. Since 2013, SunFunder has made over 80 loans to 30 companies in Africa and Asia, directly improving energy access for over 2.5m people. SunFunder has historically raised capital through private debt offerings, and maintains a 100% repayment rate to investors. To learn more, please visit www.sunfunder.com.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide. To learn more, please visit www.opic.gov.
ABOUT THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas ‒ advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities ‒ to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot ‒ or will not. To learn more, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
ABOUT MCE SOCIAL CAPITAL
MCE Social Capital is a nonprofit impact investing firm that uses a pioneering loan guarantee model to generate economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people, particularly women, in more than 30 countries. To learn more, please visit www.mcesocap.org.
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