OPIC Approves $15 Million in SunFunder’s $50 Million “Beyond The Grid Solar Fund”
SunFunder’s goal is to finance $1 billion dollars into solar loans around the world by 2020 and to prove that emerging market solar is both a profitable and impactful sector. To this end, OPIC signed a $15 million commitment to be an anchor investor in SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund, which will allow SunFunder to provide greater debt capital to companies operating along the solar off-grid and grid-deficit value chain. For more information on OPIC’s investment, see the official press release.
Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will enable several million individuals in low-income communities to benefit from switching from kerosene to solar energy, reducing households and businesses’ expenditures on energy and significantly reducing CO2 emissions. The fund will be open to other investors for the remainder of the year.
“Solar energy is the most viable solution to replace dirty and unreliable fossil fuel energy sources and to increase energy access for those who really need it,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “To support solar’s growth in emerging markets, access to sector-specific financing is key. OPIC’s investment in SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will help expand our ability to respond to the financing gap that exists for off-grid and grid-deficit solar. Getting this kind of support and validation from OPIC will open up more opportunities not only for solar enterprises but also for investors worldwide.”
Since 2012, SunFunder has been in the business of providing working capital and structured loans to solar projects in emerging markets. Founded by Ryan Levinson, SunFunder started raising the capital for solar loans through a crowdfunding model which allowed individuals to make zero-interest loans to solar projects of their choice. While SunFunder’s crowdfunding platform drew in over $200,000 from more than 1,000 crowdfunders by 2014, as the financing needs of its solar borrowers expanded, SunFunder transitioned from crowdfunding to raising capital through private debt issuances. To date, SunFunder has financed a total of $8.7 million of loans to 23 solar companies in 10 countries and increased energy access to more than half a million people – while maintaining 100% repayment rate to investors and a loan default rate below 1%.