• SunFunder

SunFunder reaches first close on new nine-year solar energy debt fund

Updated: Mar 5

We are thrilled to announce the $42.5m first close of our new Solar Energy Transformation (SET) Fund with anchor investors the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Calvert Impact Capital, Ceniarth and the IKEA Foundation. SunFunder has now closed $104.5m in its debt funds from 65 investors.

Photo credit: PEG Africa

The SET Fund is a nine-year fund that enables us to expand our debt financing options for high impact solar energy projects and companies in emerging markets. It also demonstrates the trusted relationships we have developed with investors: OPIC, Calvert Impact Capital and Ceniarth all invested in previous SunFunder debt funds.

“The SET Fund opens up new opportunities for SunFunder. As our largest and longest fund, it increases both the range and size of debt capital offerings that we can provide, especially for productive use solutions and commercial projects.” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder founder and CEO. “We’re grateful for the support from this investor group and pleased to be growing these long-standing relationships. Building trust and creating repeat opportunities for investors is key to scaling energy access.”

The first close includes OPIC’s $25m commitment of senior and junior debt announced last September. Since then, Calvert Impact Capital contributed $7.5m and Ceniarth contributed $5m, both to the senior tranche. The IKEA Foundation provided a grant of $5m as catalytic capital for the fund.

Ray W. Washburne, OPIC President and CEO, commented:

“This project will advance OPIC’s mission of empowering people in some of the world’s poorest countries, by bringing affordable electricity to remote areas that are not connected to an electricity grid.

Jennifer Pryce, President & CEO, Calvert Impact Capital, commented:

“We’re thrilled to work with this group of lenders to meet SunFunder’s growing capital needs. Continuing to scale proven fund managers like SunFunder is critical to creating access to capital for local businesses that are leading the energy transformation.”

First loss catalytic capital is key for unlocking commercially-oriented investors, and we are delighted to launch a partnership with the IKEA Foundation.

Jolanda van Ginkel, IKEA Foundation Programme Manager, commented:

“The IKEA Foundation is supporting SunFunder with a $5m grant for its important work in serving the off-grid communities in East and West Africa and India because we believe that helping families access renewable energy will enable them to afford a better everyday life while also protecting the planet.”

SunFunder has now deployed $65m of debt financing to 46 solar borrowers in Africa and Asia, directly improving access to clean energy for over 5m people while mitigating more than 450k tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Our work will expand significantly with the SET Fund, our third and largest debt fund, as we expect the companies we will finance to impact 2.8m people with improved access to clean energy and mitigate over 480k tons of CO2 emissions annually.

While we were a pioneer in offering debt financing for off-grid residential solar companies, enabling them to build track record and commercialize, we have diversified our portfolio to support income-generating and productive-use assets and small commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects.

"Ceniarth has been an active energy access investor for the past four years and has monitored activity closely across the sector. SunFunder has grown into a sophisticated and responsible lender in a market that continues to have significant complexity, but critical impact. We are excited to invest alongside OPIC and Calvert Impact Capital in expanding the SET fund,” said Diane Isenberg, Founder and Director of Ceniarth.