PROJECT FINANCING FOR NAMIBIAN SOLAR PV-PLANT

Climate fund adds 5MW photovoltaic farm in Rosh Pinah to its portfolio

Zurich, 15 August 2017 — The responsAbility-managed energy fund that focuses on climate financing in developing countries is further expanding its portfolio. A newly constructed solar photovoltaic farm in Rosh Pinah, Namibia, has just gone operational. By feeding 13.5 GWh of electricity into the national grid on an annual basis, the plant will help to enhance energy security and reduce Namibia’s dependence on electricity imports.

With an average of 10 hours of sunlight per day, Namibia has some of the best solar resources in the world. Until now, however, this potential has gone largely unexploited. As much as 40% of the rural population lacks access to energy and Namibia currently imports 60% of the power it uses from neighbouring countries. 

To promote the development of the country’s renewable energy capacity, Namibia launched its first interim Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) programme in 2014, enabling independent power producers to bid for a combined 70 MW of renewable energy to be supplied to the national grid. 

The newly constructed 5 MW Rosh Pinah project is part of the REFIT programme. It was developed by AEE Power Ventures, a Spanish company that develops, owns and operates solar projects across sub-Saharan Africa. 30% of the project will be owned by previously disadvantage Namibians. In addition to offering a reliable energy supply, the project will contribute to the local community by providing employment and promoting the transfer of skills.

To finance the project, the climate fund investment vehicle worked with RMB Namibia, a division of the investment bank First National Bank of Namibia Limited, to facilitate a guarantee structure allowing the project to be funded in local currency. Construction work at Rosh Pinah started in January 2017 and was completed earlier this month.

Philippe Flamand, Senior Investment Officer at responsAbility, stated: “The innovative financing solution with RMB is the first of its kind in the Namibian context and has allowed us to effectively bring long-term non-recourse project finance to a thriving solar sector. We are excited to have supported AEE in this first project and we look forward to partnering with the sector in Namibia going forward.”

Speaking on behalf of AEE Power Ventures, Francisco Lopez, Managing Director, commented: “This project shows our commitment with Namibia and neighbouring countries to providing sustainable power solutions. The financing solution prepared by RMB, responsAbility investments and AEE Power Ventures allows the utilities company to buy power in its local currency without being exposed to external currency fluctuations. This increases the financial sustainability of the power plant over the 25-year horizon. “

Miguel Zaldivar, Southern Africa Regional Manager, added: “This is a good example of how AEE Power Holding adds value by being present at every stage of the value chain, from inception to construction and operation. Additionally, we are proud to contribute to energy security in Namibia, which is highly dependent on electricity imports, and to help drive community empowerment and development in the Karas Region.” 

Matthias Langheld, Senior IBD Transactor, RMB Namibia, commented: “There is enormous potential for renewable energy in Namibia, as the country has one of the best solar resources in the world. With this potential on its doorstep, Namibia is well positioned to transform itself from a net importer of electrical power to a regional net exporter of electrical power with the help of renewable energy sources. RMB Namibia is proud to be able to play a role in increasing the country’s energy security by developing renewable energy projects, as this is an important factor for the country’s economic development. This project further demonstrates RMB Namibia’s ability to structure and fund such projects, as it aims to become the go-to bank for financing power projects in Namibia.” 

Contact
responsAbility Investments AG 
Ulli Janett, Media Relations
Telephone: +41 44 403 06 33
e-mail: ulli.janett [at] responsAbility.com

About responsAbility Investments AG (responsAbility.com)
responsAbility Investments AG is a leading asset manager in the field of development investments that offers professionally managed investment solutions to private, institutional and public investors. The company supplies debt and equity financing to firms in emerging economies and developing countries. 
responsAbility currently has USD 3.2 billion of assets under management invested in over 550 companies in 97 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.

AEE Power Ventures (aeepower.com)
Spain-based AEE Power Ventures develops, owns and operates solar projects across sub-Saharan Africa. AEEV is a wholly owned subsidiary of AEE Power Corporation, a privately-held international Engineering Procurement & Construction contractor and power developer. With branch offices in Angola, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, amongst others, AEE focuses on the energy industry in developing countries, in particular across sub-Saharan Africa.

RMB
RMB Namibia is a leading corporate and investment bank, a division of First National Bank of Namibia Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of locally listed FNB Namibia Holdings Limited and part of the FirstRand Group, one of the largest financial services groups in Africa. They offer their clients a comprehensive suite of corporate and investment banking products and solutions, including corporate banking, advisory, finance, and trading solutions.

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