SunFunder completes SET Fund with new investors including OeEB and Bank of America
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
We have fully closed the oversubscribed $70 million Solar Energy Transformation (SET) Fund, following an investment by OeEB, the development bank of Austria.
They join other institutional, impact, foundation and individual investors in the blended finance vehicle focused on distributed solar and storage investments in Africa and Asia that help to mitigate climate change and improve energy access.
The SET Fund has received investments from Swedfund, Bank of America, Mercy Investment Services, The Schmidt Family Foundation and several individual investors, including from the Toniic impact investor network. They followed anchor first close investors the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Calvert Impact Capital, Ceniarth and the IKEA Foundation. DFC is also a risk tool partner of the SET Fund, alongside Sida and MFX Solutions.
"We are so grateful to our new investor partners who believed in us and worked so hard to close the SET Fund, especially during a year with so many new challenges and uncertainties. Thanks are also due to our anchor investors who have now made repeat investments in our work over the years. We look forward to building on these new and existing partnerships as we expand our climate and energy access investments through SET and beyond."
Ryan Levinson, SunFunder's Co-founder & CEO
It should be highlighted, especially on International Women’s Day, that energy access brings particularly high socio-economic development impacts for women and girls. SunFunder is itself a proponent of gender-lens investing, having been co-founded by Chief Commercial Officer Audrey Desiderato and with women comprising 43% of its team and 40% of its board. DFC’s SET Fund investment qualified under the G7’s 2X Global Women's Initiative and SunFunder has featured in Calvert Impact Capital’s pioneering work on gender-lens investing.
We have been closing new SET Fund investments with solar borrowers, which has helped take our overall track record to more than $140 million closed (including direct investments and syndications we’ve led) for 56 companies in 23 countries. Our direct investments have improved energy access for 8 million people and mitigate 750,000 tons of CO2e emissions annually. SunFunder was recently recognized again on the ImpactAssets 50 list of leading impact fund managers for delivering environmental, social and economic impact.
We are pleased to share comments from our SET partner investors:
"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."
Sabine Gaber, Member of OeEB’s Executive Board
"This investment gives us, as a development finance institution, the possibility to contribute to climate change mitigation and improved standards of living due to access to affordable and reliable electricity."
Maria Håkansson, CEO of Swedfund
"This investment addresses the critical need for access to affordable, clean energy in emerging markets, and helps to unlock capital that is needed to realize global commitments on climate change."
Dan Letendre, Managing Director for ESG at Bank of America
"SunFunder’s financing to expand access to clean, reliable energy to those living beyond the grid is having life-changing impacts for families across Africa. Not only does it create environmental and health benefits, but families are able to redirect energy savings to food, education and health care."
Sarah Smith, Director of Mercy Partnership Fund
"Access to energy is a fundamental human right. We believe SunFunder's solar financing provides vital investment in off-grid clean energy systems, especially in places that depend heavily on diesel generators or have no power at all. Developing clean, reliable, power sources helps local businesses, creates job opportunities, and leads to healthier outcomes for communities and the environment by reducing harmful emissions."
Jamie Dean, Director of The Schmidt Family Foundation's impact investing
"The SET Fund was considered one of the most transformative opportunities to enable access to clean energy in frontier markets, and the interested members of the Climate Working Group swiftly moved a collaborative due diligence process that led to a co-investment in January 2021."
Dario Parziale, Director of Investment Research and Analysis at Toniic