AFRICA – SunFunder, a provider of debt financing to solar enterprises, has closed four new loans at the end of the First Quarter (Q1) 2020, which took it over US$100 million invested in distributed solar in Africa and other emerging regions. 

Those new loans were with two existing solar home system borrowers – M-KOPA in Kenya and PEG Africa in Ghana – as well as long-term financing for the solarisation of Orange’s telecom towers in the Central African Republic by energy solutions provider CREI, which will cut CO2 emissions by 1,300 tons annually. 

They also completed their first commercial & industrial (C&I) end user financing with MCI in Kenya for a solar installation and energy efficiency improvements. The Nairobi-based manufacturer has also repurposed some of its lines to produce 100,000 face masks per week and other medical equipment in response to the pandemic. 

In a statement that they released, they said that they we are still open for business and looking to support the sector further. They are doing this by working closely with all our partners, our portfolio companies and potential new investees.  

The situation has brought home more than ever how important partnerships are to get through the harder times – They are grateful to be working with organisations like Sida and DFC, who have provided credit guarantee and political risk insurance facilities respectively. Both have shown huge willingness to understand how they could help SunFunder and the wider industry to mitigate new risk. 

More generally, they have recieved an overwhelming response by all their partners working on energy access that do not want to see sector growth and impact lost. 

They are working with Acumen, Persistent and responsAbility, among others, on setting up a relief fund for energy access companies, to support them through the crisis and protect local jobs.  

On the emerging crisis of Covid-19, SunFunder said that it will be a long process. They are doing all they can to make sure it doesn’t set back the longer-term challenges of solving energy access and climate change. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic is at an earlier stage in Africa. While we don’t know what will happen, we expect the impact to be significant, and we are trying to get ahead of it,” said Ryan Levinson, CEO and founder of SunFunder.