Subscribe to download Archive
Subscribe to download Archive

Sunfunder closes $70mn Africa-faced solar fund

Nairobi-based solar lender Sunfunder has closed its oversubscribed $70mn fund to finance small-scale renewables and energy storage systems in Africa and Asia.

The fund benefited from a commitment from Austrian state-owned development bank Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank.

Sunfunder's Solar Energy Transformation Fund announced the completion on March 8, after being opened by anchor investors such as Calvert Impact Capital, Ceniarth, the Ikea Foundation and the US International Development Finance Corp. (DFC).

Other backers of the fund included Swedish state-owned development financier Swedfund, Bank of America, the Schmidt Family Foundation established by former Google CEO and chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, individual investors from the San Francisco-based Toniic network and the Mercy Investment Services ministry of the Catholic religious grouping the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Ryan Levinson, CEO of SunFunder, said: “We are so grateful to our new investor partners who believed in us and worked so hard to close the SET Fund, especially during a year with so many new challenges and uncertainties. Thanks are also due to our anchor investors, who have now made repeat investments in our work over the years. We look forward to building on these new and existing partnerships as we expand our climate and energy access investments through SET and beyond.”

Sunfunder said the DFC had acted as a “risk tool partner” for the fund, along with Washington DC-based currency hedging specialist MFX Solutions and “Sida” – thought to be the state-owned Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

In Kenya, SunFunder is involved in the Kenyan government’s Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP). This aims to form a crucial part of the country’s National Electrification Strategy, which aims to ensure universal access to electricity by 2022.

Since 2013, SunFunder has raised over $140mn for 56 companies operating in solar markets across 23 African countries.

Their off-grid, mini-grid, commercial and industrial (C&I) solar, telecom tower solarisation, productive use and agri-solar investments have directly improved energy access for 8mn people and mitigate 750,000 tonnes per year (tpy) of CO2 emissions annually.