New mini-grid loan for Winch Energy
SunFunder this week disbursed a new $2 million loan to Winch Energy for the construction of 25 mini-grids in Northern Uganda.
It is part of the UK-based mini-grid developer’s new limited-recourse financing platform Winch Energy IPP Holdings, established with NEoT Offgrid Africa.
Our loan will finance part of the construction of the rural electrification projects in Uganda’s northern Lamwo region, which borders South Sudan.
Rim Azirar, Senior Investment Officer at SunFunder, said: “Winch has built real expertise in developing mini-grids in remote and challenging environments, which requires patience, resilience and strong partnerships. This new platform is not just about the capital, but also about an ecosystem of partners, which we are pleased to support alongside NEoT and others.”
The 25 mini-grids will supply new electricity connections for at least 2,300 households, mitigating over 550 tons of CO2e per year from reduced kerosene and diesel emissions. Comprising nearly 1MW of solar capacity in total, the mini-grids start with Winch’s proprietary Remote Power Units (RPUs) which offer containerised energy generation and control systems.
The new investment expands SunFunder’s work in the mini-grid sector, which started with a construction loan to PowerGen in 2018. As well as construction financing for developers executing projects backed by public and other infrastructure funding, SunFunder is also expanding its offerings in the mini-grid sector.
Nicholas Wrigley, CEO of Winch Energy, commented on the launch of the Winch Energy IPP Holdings: “This platform will enable us to rapidly scale up operations in Africa. Not only does [it] pave the future for Winch Energy as a leader in large-scale off-grid renewables, it also stimulates economic growth and improves education and healthcare provision in remote communities.”
Winch Energy is backed by Total Eren, Itochu Corporation and Al Gihaz Holdings and is already supplying energy to communities in Sierra Leone, Benin, Mauritania and Angola. NEoT is a financing platform established by Meridiam, EDF and Mitsubishi Corporation.
The mini-grids will also receive results-based financing from Uganda’s Rural Electrification Agency, backed by the German Development Ministry (BMZ) and European Union, while GIZ also supported project development.