US agency in solar push for East Africa
WASHINGTON, USA – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a United States Federal government financing agency, has approved a $15 million loan for a new fund set up by SunFunder Inc to support solar energy in developing countries.
According to OPIC, “SunFunder will provide receivables financing, project financing, and inventory/working capital loans to the manufacturers, distributors, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Philippines, Uganda, Ghana, Pakistan and India.”
SunFunder is hoping to finance $1 billion in solar loans around the world by 2020, and has so far financed a total of $8.7 million worth of loans to 23 solar companies in 10 countries, and increased energy access to more than half a million people.
SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund, is a new investment vehicle to be managed by SunFunder.
It will provide financing to companies in developing countries that manufacture, distribute, and install solar lighting and energy systems. The new Fund hopes to reach several million people throughout developing nations, helping them to switch from kerosene and diesel to solar energy.
Elizabeth Littlefield, the OPIC President and CEO said, “OPIC is proud to partner with SunFunder in delivering innovative financing solutions for off-grid and grid-deficit solar energy in developing countries.”
She said: “The Fund will facilitate access to financing by companies that provide clean energy products and services.”
Ryan Levinson, SunFunder’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer said, “Solar energy is the most viable solution to replace dirty and unreliable fossil fuel energy sources and to increase energy access for those who really need it.
He said, “To support solar’s growth in emerging markets, access to sector-specific financing is key. OPIC’s investment in SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will help expand our ability to respond to the financing gap that exists for off-grid and grid-deficit solar. Getting this kind of support and validation from OPIC will open up more opportunities not only for solar enterprises but also for investors worldwide.”
Levinson said to support solar’s growth in emerging markets, access to sector-specific financing is key.
“OPIC’s investment in SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will help expand our ability to respond to the financing gap that exists for off-grid and grid-deficit solar,” he said.