SunFunder leads $6m syndicated receivables financing facility for SolarNow

A key pathway for scale in our sector is through syndication – multiple lenders investing together.

Today we are delighted to announce that SunFunder has arranged its first syndication, for leading off-grid solar company SolarNow in Uganda. Oikocredit and responsAbility Investments were the other investors.

As Ryan Levinson, SunFunder CEO, puts it:

Our customers need more scalable, less time-consuming financing options so they can focus on their core business delivering solar energy. By leading syndications, SunFunder offers solar companies larger ticket size loans with less hassle, and gives investors a route into the market.

The $6 million facility is SolarNow’s second structured asset finance instrument, known as SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. SAFI is a bankruptcy-remote special purpose vehicle designed to finance off-grid residential solar companies’ customer receivables. This enables them to expand their pay-as-you-go or solar lease offerings to reach more people living without access to energy.

SolarNow and SunFunder have now completed five transactions together, tracking the growth of the sector itself from humble origins to larger and increasingly sophisticated deployments.

We are thrilled to continue building our fruitful relationship with SunFunder,” Willem Nolens, SolarNow CEO, said. “So far, it has allowed us to focus entirely on our growth and profitability reaching more than 25,000 clients. This new step of our partnership will enable us to continue tackling the massive unmet market opportunity in East Africa of providing affordable energy to millions of off-grid households, and to reach 70% of Uganda’s off-grid population with solar home systems.

SunFunder acted as the Arranger, Lender and Facility Agent for the $6 million facility, with each lender providing $2 million to the facility. While it is SolarNow’s second SAFI transaction, it represents the first syndicated SAFI in the market.

“We are delighted to build on our long-standing relationship with SolarNow and bring in additional investors,” Ryan Levinson added. SolarNow sells, finances and installs modular solar systems and solar appliances (TVs, fridges, water pumps, etc.) to rural households and entrepreneurs through a network of 55 branches and 750 staff in Uganda and Kenya.

Maite Pina, Investment Officer at Oikocredit, said, “We see SolarNow as a company that prioritises its customers in order to meet their needs with the right solar products and services.” Speaking on behalf of responsAbility, Stefan Issler, Head Direct Investments, Energy Debt Financing, underlined: “Access to energy is a core topic when it comes to developing economies.