WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than a billion people still live without access to electricity, presenting a challenge to socioeconomic development across low- and middle-income countries. While distributed off-grid solar systems have been identified as a solution, a key barrier to wide-scale deployment is adequate financing. SunFunder was founded to develop viable investment structures and aggregate investor capital for solar assets in emerging economies.
Reporting on its latest efforts, SunFunder announced it has successfully leveraged early catalytic capital from Facebook, the DOEN Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation to unlock other investors and raise more than $62 million in debt funds. SunFunder has maintained 100 percent on-time debt servicing to investors to date since starting in 2012, demonstrating that the energy access sector is a viable investment opportunity for impact and institutional investors.
“Through their willingness to bear upfront risks, Facebook and The Rockefeller Foundation’s junior investments catalyzed 11 times the investments in more senior capital positions in our most recent fund,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder founder and CEO. “By blending together catalytic capital with private and development finance, we think scaling this model with institutional investors is just around the corner.”
SunFunder’s results, as well as guidance for investors interested in the energy access field are part of a new white paper, “Scaling Energy Access with Blended Finance: SunFunder and the Role of Catalytic Capital,” released today.
“Our experience with SunFunder shows that catalytic capital can enable greater commercial investment into energy access,” said Dimitry Gershenson, who co-leads the Energy Access team at Facebook. “If structured appropriately, grants or junior investments for specialized financial intermediaries can have significant multiplier effects and bring the sector closer to a sustainable commercial model.”