SolarNow’s $9 million structured asset finance instrument, known as SAFI, arranged by SunFunder will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.
Courtesy of SolarNow
The new investment marks the 5th anniversary of SolarNow’s partnership with Nairobi-based SunFunder, and their debt facility together. It is also the second time that Oikocredit and a responsAbility-managed private debt fund have participated with SunFunder to finance the company, after a similar $6 million syndication 14 months ago.
“This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimise the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead” said SolarNow CEO Willem Nolens. “By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.”
SunFunder’s Director of Investments Surabhi Visser added that SunFunder has just had its 5-year anniversary working with SolarNow and that this investment takes SunFunder to $19 million in investments that it has arranged or made directly in the company.
The new systems will amount to around 2.5 MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity, resulting in over 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided through displaced kerosene for lighting. Among the expected impacts, the company estimates that over 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda.
The SAFI product is a tailored receivables financing structure designed by SunFunder for solar companies deploying systems through pay-as-you-go and solar leasing models. SAFI finances their credit offerings directly, allowing them to reach more customers.
The facility is the third syndication arranged by SunFunder with responsAbility and Oikocredit, showing the ongoing importance of specialist origination and collaborative investments for emerging market solar. The three investors also worked on a multi-currency syndicated debt facility for PEG Africa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.