We are delighted to announce the first close of our new $50 million Beyond The Grid Solar Fund, which marks a new and exciting chapter for SunFunder.
We’re grateful to our first close partners, which includes a step change in our relationship with institutional investors. The first close amounted to $21 million and is backed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), MCE Social Capital and The Rockefeller Foundation. We’re thrilled to be working with them all.
Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO, commented that, “OPIC is proud to partner with SunFunder in delivering innovative financing solutions for off-grid and grid-deficit solar energy in developing countries.”
The new fund dramatically increases the size and range of our debt finance offerings for solar in Africa, Asia and other emerging markets. It takes SunFunder into a new trajectory, as we position ourselves at the forefront of the opportunity to mobilize hundreds of millions, and then billions, of dollars for high impact solar in the coming years.
In a sense, we are moving in lock-step with the market. Solar has proven itself to be a no-brainer for delivering scalable energy access and reliable power in many parts of the world, while costs continue to fall. Our customers - the solar entrepreneurs deploying solar products and projects - are expanding, both in terms of size and geography and in the sophistication of the appliances and services they can offer alongside solar. They need increasingly more debt financing as they sell more pay-as-you-go solar home systems, distribute more solar lanterns, and develop commercial and industrial scale solar projects to power businesses as well as households.
We’ll start deploying the fund immediately for our pipeline of solar projects and businesses needing debt finance to scale. We’ll also be expanding 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 moving into commercial-scale project financings.
We look forward to working with all of you across the sector to finance the solar revolution that’s already benefitting the 1.2 billion people in developing countries without access to electricity, and the further billion with only unreliable access.