Uganda’s SolarNow raises $9m debt financing


The Uganda-based off-grid solar company SolarNow has closed its largest financing facility to date through SunFunder, with Oikocredit and responsAbility contributing to a US$9M debt funding round.

The facility is the third structured asset finance instrument arranged for SolarNow by the Nairobi-based SunFunder, after previous ones in 2016 and 2017, and will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.

“This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimise the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead. By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth,” said SolarNow chief executive officer (CEO) Willem Nolens.

The new systems will amount to around 2.5 MW of new installed off-grid solar capacity. Among the expected impacts, the company estimates more than 70,000 women will gain improved energy access in Uganda.

“We have just had our five-year anniversary working with SolarNow, and this takes us to US$19 million in investments that we’ve arranged or made directly in the company. We are proud to have backed SolarNow’s growth, delivering top quality solar systems and appliances throughout Uganda,” said SunFunder’s director of investments Surabhi Visser.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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