Solarnow And Sunfunder Announce $9M Debt Financing With Oikocredit And Responsability

Kampala-based off-grid solar company SolarNow has closed its largest receivables financing facility to date, with SunFunder, Oikocredit and responsibility.

The $9 million facility is SolarNow’s third structured asset finance instrument, or SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. It will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.

SolarNow CEO Willem Nolens said: “This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimize the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead. By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.”

The new investment marks the fifth anniversary of SolarNow’s partnership with Nairobi-based SunFunder, and their debt facility together. It is also the second time 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.

SunFunder’s Director of Investments, Surabhi Visser, said: “We have just had our five-year anniversary working with SolarNow, and this takes us to $19 million in investments that we’ve arranged or made directly in the company. We are proud to have backed SolarNow’s growth, delivering top quality solar systems and appliances throughout Uganda.”

The new systems will amount to around 2.5 MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity. Among the expected impacts, the company estimates more than 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda.

Oikocredit’s Renewable Energy Manager, David ten Kroode, said: “We’re proud to support the continued growth of SolarNow. [Its] strategy of offering a wide range of solar products and services to energy-poor communities is perfectly aligned with Oikocredit’s mission to help alleviate poverty by improving access to energy.”

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 credit offerings directly, allowing companies 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 the emerging solar market. The partners also worked on a multi-currency syndicated debt facility for PEG Africa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

ResponsAbility’s Stefan Issler, Head of Direct Investments and Energy Debt Financing, added: “We were excited to see SolarNow’s successful growth ever since we teamed up with SunFunder to finance the company a little over a year ago, and look forward to supporting SolarNow as a long-term financing partner.”

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