Expanding portfolio of solar home system providers

SolarNow receives USD 6 million syndicated off-grid solar financing facility

Zurich, 18 October 2017 — Leading off-grid solar company SolarNow and investors SunFunder, Oikocredit and responsAbility Investments announce a new syndicated receivables financing facility amounting to USD 6 million. Structured as a bankruptcy-remote special purpose vehicle, the facility will enable SolarNow to deploy solar home systems to a broad section of Uganda’s off-grid population by offering credit to end users.

The USD 6 million facility is SolarNow’s second structured asset finance instrument, known as SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. SAFI is a bankruptcy-remote special purpose vehicle designed for solar companies deploying systems through pay-as-you-go and solar leasing models in developing countries. It enables them to expand their offerings and reach more people living without access to energy.

The syndication was led by SunFunder, with each lender providing USD 2 million to the facility. While it is SolarNow’s second SAFI transaction, it represents the first syndicated SAFI in the market. SunFunder, acting as the Arranger, Lender and Facility Agent, arranged the $6m facility with social investor Oikocredit and an energy fund focusing on energy access and managed by responsAbility Investments as co-investors.

SolarNow and SunFunder have now completed five transactions together, tracking the growth of the sector itself from humble origins to larger and increasingly sophisticated deployments.

Willem Nolens, SolarNow CEO, says, “We are thrilled to continue building our fruitful relationship with SunFunder. So far, it has allowed us to focus entirely on our growth and profitability reaching more than 25,000 clients. This new step of our partnership will enable us to continue tackling the massive unmet market opportunity in East Africa of providing affordable energy to millions of off-grid households, and to reach 70% of Uganda’s off-grid population with solar home systems.”

Ryan Levinson, SunFunder CEO, says, “Our customers need more scalable, less time-consuming financing options so they can focus on their core business delivering solar energy. By leading syndications, SunFunder offers solar companies larger ticket size loans with less hassle. We are delighted to build on our long-standing relationship with SolarNow and bring in additional investors.”

Speaking on behalf of responsAbility, Stefan Issler, Head Direct Investments, Energy Debt Financing, underlinesd: “Access to energy is a core topic when it comes to developing economies. By channeling financing to companies like SolarNow, we actively develop markets and infrastructure, thereby addressing the basic needs of broad sections of the population.”

Maite Pina, Investment Officer at Oikocredit, says, “With this securitization Oikocredit demonstrates its commitment to supporting SolarNow and off-grid solar in the long-term. We see SolarNow as a company that prioritises its customers in order to meet their needs with the right solar products and services. It is also important to us that SolarNow aims to contribute towards Uganda’s development and economy.”

There are 1.2 billion people in developing countries with no access to electricity, while another billion only have unreliable access. Solar power now offers an economic solution for people living off-grid in rural areas, providing lighting, mobile phone charging and even highly-efficient televisions and fridges. A new generation of solar companies have emerged to deploy these systems commercially, but many have struggled to access mainstream financing to fuel their growth.


Javier Olaguibel
javier [at] solarnow.eu
+256 786 688 989

Nico Tyabji
nico [at] sunfunder.com " rel="nofollow">nico [at] sunfunder.com 
+44 7873 163 503

Ulli Janett
responsAbility Investments AG
ulli.janett [at] responsAbility.com
+41 44 403 06 33

About SolarNow
SolarNow is a for profit social business which sells, finances and installs modular solar systems (50Wp to 20KW) and solar appliances (led tubes, TVs, fridges, water pumps, flat irons, etc.) to rural households and entrepreneurs in East Africa. Through a network of 55 branches and 750 staff in Uganda and Kenya, the company provides last mile distribution, up to 2 year financing and 5 year free service to its clients. To date SolarNow has served more than 25,000 clients. Client repayment exceeds 98%, reflecting high client satisfaction and rigorous credit assessments and management.

About SunFunder
Since 2013, SunFunder has made over 100 loans to more than 30 companies in Africa and Asia, directly improving energy access for over 3 million people. SunFunder raises capital through private debt offerings, and has maintained a 100% repayment rate to investors. SunFunder exists to solve the financing bottleneck for beyond-grid solar, providing working capital loans, receivables financing and project financing to manufacturers, distributors, developers, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and India.

About Oikocredit
Oikocredit has over 40 years’ experience in funding partner organisations active in inclusive finance (including microfinance), agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans, investments and capacity building aim to enable people living on low incomes to sustainably improve their living standards. Oikocredit finances around 800 partners in 70 countries, with total outstanding capital of €971.5 million.

About responsAbility Investments AG
With USD 3.3 billion of assets under management invested in over 550 companies in 97 countries, responsAbility Investments AG is a leading asset manager in the field of development investments The company supplies debt and equity financing to firms in emerging economies and developing countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich and has local offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris. Its shareholders include a number of reputable institutions in the Swiss financial market and its own employees. responsAbility is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

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