Venture Capital: SunFunder Raises $70M For Its Solar Energy Transformation (SET) Fund

The SET Fund is dedicated to the promotion of electrification using solar energy in Africa.

An investment from OesterreichischeEntwicklungsbank AG (OeEB), the Austrian government’s development bank, has helped SunFunder close its oversubscribed $70 million Solar Energy Transformation Fund. Other participants in the fund included Swedfund, the IKEA Foundation, Bank of America, Mercy Investment Services, the Schmidt Family Foundation, and members from the Toniic impact investor network. (Afrik21)

SET is a blended finance vehicle focused on distributed solar and storage investments in Africa and Asia that help to mitigate climate change and improve energy access.

Facilitating impact investing for Africa

SunFunder provides finance for solar energy in parts of the world where people and businesses lack reliable access to electricity.

SET has so far closed $140 million on financing for 56 solar borrowers across 23 countries. Furthermore, direct investments have brought energy to over 8 million people and cut emissions by 750,000 tons of CO2.

For example, SunFunder has invested $4 million in Daystar Power which in turn provides solar energy to industrial and commercial customers.

Last month SunFunder made the first disbursement from a new US$11mn syndicated debt facility to SunCulture, a solar irrigation company based in Nairobi, to expand its operations in sub-Saharan Africa. SunCulture will help farmers replace diesel pumps with solar-powered ones, cutting over 20,000t of CO2 annually.

Ryan Levinson and  Audrey Desiderato founded SunFunder in 2012 with the mission to facilitate debt financing to the solar market.

Off-grid solutions

Sabine Gaber, a member of OeEB’s Executive Board said: “Increasing access to energy while at the same time protecting our climate is a precondition for sustainable development and at the heart of OeEB’s strategy. Off-grid solutions have played a critical role in delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy, especially to rural populations. We are therefore proud to team up with SunFunder – an impact-driven and experienced partner in this field – and to back this innovative fund which improves access to energy for millions of people.”

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