Bboxx secures funds for 90,000 solar home systems in Kenya


English off-grid solar company Bboxx says it has secured a Kenyan shilling-denominated loan to fund enough solar products to benefit 470,000 people in the East African state over the next two years.

The London-based business, which bills itself as a “next-generation utility,” said the fact the KES1.6 billion (€12.3 million) loan is denominated in local currency will encourage other commercial lenders in Africa to fund solar projects.

Announcing the finance package today, Bboxx said the cash would pay for equipment including 89,600 solar home systems plus appliances such as solar-powered telephones and fridges, with all of the gear destined for Kenya and some 80% of the anticipated 470,000 people to benefit living in rural areas. The company added, the finance will also lead to the creation of 100 new long-term jobs in the country.

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The loan was secured from Mauritian-owned SBM Bank Kenya and three-quarters of the sum has been guaranteed by London-based financial services entity GuarantCo. The latter body is funded by the governments of the U.K., Switzerland, Australia, and Sweden, via the Private Infrastructure Development Group trust; and by the Netherlands through its international development bank the FMO (Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden). French public funds supply a standby facility, if needed, to back GuarantCo, and government department Global Affairs Canada has financed the organization with a loan.

Quoted in a press release issued this morning by Bboxx to announce the loan, chief executive Mansoor Hamayun said: “We are very pleased to partner with GuarantCo and SBM Bank to accelerate access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy to hundreds of thousands of Kenyans. This fund marks a big milestone in our industry’s history. This transaction shows what is possible to achieve when forging partnerships between different stakeholders to mobilize private capital to the energy sector.”

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