Nairobi’s Sunfunder sets up $70m pot for solar and storage in Africa and Asia


A commitment from Austrian state-owned development bank Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank has enabled Nairobi-based solar lender Sunfunder to close what it described as an oversubscribed, $70 million fund to finance small scale renewables and energy storage systems in Africa and Asia.

Sunfunder's ‘solar energy transformation fund' announced completion on Monday, for a cashpot which opened with the help of anchor investors the Washington DC-based Calvert Impact Capital; London, New York and San Francisco-based Ceniarth; the Ikea Foundation set up by the Swedish furniture giant; and federal government body the U.S. International Development Finance Corp (DFC).

Other backers of the fund included Swedish state owned development financier Swedfund, Bank of America, the Schmidt Family Foundation established by former Google CEO and chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, individual investors from the San Francisco-based Toniic network and the Mercy Investment Services ministry of the Catholic religious grouping the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

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Sunfunder said the DFC acted as a “risk tool partner” for the fund, along with Washington DC-based currency hedging specialist MFX Solutions and “Sida”–which is thought to be the state-owned Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

This article was amended on 11/03/21 to reflect Eric Schmidt is a former CEO and chairman of Google, not the present chairman, and that the Schmidt Family Foundation was co-founded by him with his wife Wendy, not solely by Mr Schmidt, as previously reported.

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