Stockholm (NordSIP) – responsAbility, an impact asset manager headquartered in Switzerland, has announced the first close of its new Energy Access Fund, after securing US$151 million in investment commitments from a wide range of international investors.
The private debt fund seeks to address the lack of access to clean energy around the globe, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. The Fund targets companies that provide solutions to households without access to electricity, and to businesses looking for cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy.
Beyond the financing of the dynamic off-grid energy sector, it is the first investment fund of this scope to actively address the solar potential for the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. Over the lifetime of the fund, responsAbility expects portfolio companies to provide clean power to more than 150 million people, add 2,000 MW of clean energy generation capacity and reduce CO2 emissions by 6 m tonnes.
“With a solid track record of investing in the energy access space, a committed team of experts and a full pipeline in place, we are ready to expand our activities to include the high-impact commercial & industrial sector. By partnering with entrepreneurs as a first commercial lender, we want to enable clean energy businesses to scale up their activities and attract more funding in the long run,” explained Antoine Prédour who oversees responsAbility’s energy debt financing activities.
The fund is incorporated in Luxembourg as a blended finance structure offering different risk tranches. It has received commitments from prominent public and private investors, including AHL Venture Partners, Ashden Trust, Bank of America, Bohemian Impact Investments, Calvert Impact Capital, Clean Technology Fund, EIB, Facebook, FMO, Good Energies Foundation, the government of Luxembourg, IFC, Norfund, OeEB, Shell Foundation, Snowball and UK DFID, among others.
“Access to reliable electricity is a prerequisite for economic growth, job creation and development. Technology change is driving new business models that promote access to electricity. We are pleased to support responsAbility’s latest Fund providing debt finance to companies active in this area”, explained Mark Davis, Executive Vice President Clean Energy for Norfund.
“EIB’s investment in the Fund is a clear demonstration of both our commitment to sustainable energy access. By providing debt to companies supplying off-grid and distributed energy generation solutions to households and SMEs, the Fund will fill an important financing gap in a sector that is essential to achieving both economic and social development,” added Emma Navarro, Vice President, European Investment Bank (EIB).
“Investments that bring renewable energy solutions to households and small businesses in Africa can have a big impact by increasing access to electricity, lowering energy costs and improving power reliability to support growth and job creation in countries where access to power is often limited or too expensive,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for the Middle East and Africa,
A second close of the fund is expected for later in 2020, potentially growing to US$200 million at that stage.