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The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s development finance institution, has provided initial financing to a private fund to expand access to solar power beyond the grid. The financing is part of a $25 million commitment of senior and junior debt OPIC entered into last September.

US government invests in Africa focused solar fundThe Solar Energy Transformation Fund is one of a group of investment vehicles managed by SunFunder, a solar energy finance business with offices in the U.S., London and Nairobi working to scale up clean energy access in Africa and Asia by financing solar companies active in off-grid and weak-grid communities. SunFunder’s $85 million Fund supports businesses providing solar solutions to in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Since OPIC committed financing, two other lenders have also committed loans, bringing the first close total raised to $42.5 million. This blended financing package includes $7.5 million from Calvert Impact Capital and $5 million from Ceniarth. The IKEA Foundation also provided a grant of $5 million as catalytic capital for the fund.

SunFunder projects that the Solar Energy Transformation Fund will improve energy access for three million people and mitigate 480 000 tons of CO2 emissions annually over the nine year life of the fund. To date, SunFunder has deployed $65 million of debt financing to 46 solar borrowers in Africa and Asia.

“SunFunder has now closed over $100 million in diversified solar debt funds and the SET Fund opens up new opportunities. As our largest fund and with a 9-year tenor, the SET Fund increases both the range and size of debt capital offerings that we can provide, especially for productive use solutions and commercial projects. We’re grateful for the support from this investor group and pleased to be growing these long-standing relationships,” says Ryan Levinson, SunFunder founder and CEO.

“This project will advance OPIC’s mission of empowering people in some of the world’s poorest countries by bringing affordable electricity to remote areas that are not connected to an electricity grid. As we’ve seen from the additional financing raised, it is also a testament to OPIC’s ability to mobilise additional investment,” adds Ray W. Washburne, OPIC President and CEO.

Image credit: https://sunfunder.com/team

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