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Tanzania-Based Off-Grid Solar Financier Creates Solar Fund

Off-grid solar financier SunFunder just closed a "beyond-the-grid" solar fund worth $15 million. The company has plans to grow the fund to $50 million.

The round was capitalized with $15 million from the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

SunFunder is a company based in Tanzania and San Francisco that provides project finance loans and short-term inventory loans to solar companies deploying off-grid projects in Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The money will be used to finance a combination of solar PV, lithium-ion batteries and LED bulbs -- technologies that could add up to a $3 billion market by 2020, according to BNEF.

"The project is expected to have a highly developmental impact by expanding the availability of debt financing to growing off-grid solar companies, the majority of which will be located in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 95% of those living without electricity are in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar solutions are often the cheapest and fastest way to extend energy access," wrote OPIC in its summary of the deal.



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