Uganda’s SolarNow Secures Additional US 9 Million for Market Expansion

  • Sunfunder has secured US 9 million for SolarNow which is syndicated with Oikocredit and a responsAbility-managed private debt fund.
  • SunFunder sell and install modular off-grid solar systems and appliances which include water pumps, to East African households and businesses.
  • The company estimates that over 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda as a result of the funding.

Finance company Sunfunder has secured US 9 million for SolarNow to offer credit facilities for 17500 solar and appliance systems in Uganda.  SolarNow is a micro solar systems vendor operating out of Kampala.  They sell and install modular off-grid solar systems and appliances which include water pumps, to East African households and businesses.

The two companies, who set up a debt facility partnership 5 years ago, are backed by Oikocredit and a responsAbility-managed private debt fund. The syndicate put together a similar US 6 million debt facility 14 months ago.

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

SunFunder’s Director of Investments Surabhi Visser added that “SunFunder has just had its 5-year anniversary working with SolarNow and that this investment takes SunFunder to $19 million in investments that it has arranged or made directly in the company”.

The new systems will amount to around 2.5 MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity, resulting in over 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided through displaced kerosene for lighting. Among the expected impacts, the company estimates that over 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda.

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 their credit offerings directly, allowing them to reach more customers.

The funding comes three months after SolarNow raised a $740,000 grant from the MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity.  The amount puts the company among the top five most funded in Uganda last year.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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