SolarNow closes $9M to deploy new off-grid solar systems across Uganda

SolarNow, a Uganda-based company that sells and finances solar home systems, has raised $9 million in debt. SunFunder, a longtime debt financier for the company arranged the debt facility alongside co-lenders responsAbility and Oikocredit.

The funding comes 3 months after SolarNow raised a $740,000 grant from the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity. According to Digest Africa Deals Data, the amount puts the company among the top five most funded in Uganda last year.

According to SunFunder, SolarNow will use the debt to scale its services across Uganda. "The financing will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda," wrote SunFunder. This, they hope, will result in "approximately 2.5MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity."

"Among the expected impacts, SolarNow estimates that more than 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda and [avoid] over 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions through [dispacing] kerosene for lighting."

Last year, SunFunder raised $25 million from Overseas Private Investment Corporation - OPIC. This was part of the commitment to its $100 million Solar Energy Transformation Fund. It also announced that it had secured an undisclosed amount from the Shell Foundation towards the same fund.

With only the $25 million they disclosed considered, SunFunder raised the 9th highest amount for a fund focused on Africa last year according to our Digest Africa INDEX report. It is thus likely that they made the investment into SolarNow from this particular fund.

This facility is SolarNow’s 3rd structured asset finance instrument (SAFI) that SunFunder has arranged. It is also the 3rd syndication that the solar-focused lender has done together with responsAbility and Oikocredit. As well as the 2nd such syndication for SolarNow, following a similar $6 million facility 14 months ago.

The new investment marks both the 5th-anniversary SunFunder's partnership with SolarNow. As well as a total of $19 million that the former has delivered for SolarNow. The investments have been through direct and syndicated lending.

Founded in 2011 by Willem Nolens, SolarNow has now raised at least $30 million in funding - across different deal types - according to our data.

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