London & Nairobi, 3 December 2018 - ARE Member SunFunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets, today announced the close of a $1.2m facility with mini-grid developer PowerGen in Kenya. This is a key step for the energy access sector because it marks the first debt financing that SunFunder has provided for a mini-grid project.

The financing enables the construction of 20 mini-grids on a tea estate in Kenya.  The project, comprising 242kW of installed solar capacity and 1.25MWh of battery storage, will deliver grid-quality electricity to 2,400 households.

“We are very excited to be working with PowerGen. This transaction enables us to better understand mini-grid developers and how best to cater for their funding requirements going forward,” said Andrew Githaiga, Senior Investment Officer at SunFunder.

As the mini-grid sector begins to scale, SunFunder sees a significant long-term opportunity to provide funding to both projects and developers. The debt provider’s flexibility and structuring expertise are core aspects of the value that SunFunder offers to companies operating in the sector.

“We are very happy to have kicked off an important relationship with SunFunder. Their role as a flexible short- and long-term debt provider will become increasingly important as our sector reaches larger scale through SMART RBF programs supported by multilateral organisations and national governments,” said Tobias Dekkers, Senior Manager of Commercial Development at PowerGen.

PowerGen has been delivering renewable energy systems throughout East Africa for the last 8 years and have become experts in integrating solar, battery storage and diesel generators along with control systems to create sustainable, cost-effective energy solutions. Their expertise has led the company to be the preferred power utility for large agricultural estates in Kenya.