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New fund to boost solar development in Africa

New fund to boost solar development in Africa


A solar farm in Western Cape, South Africa. Photo credit: Reuters / Esa Alexander.

By Anders Lorenzen

Countries in the African continent could be about to receive a solar investment boost which will contribute to unlocking the huge solar potential of the continent.

A new investment fund worth €87.5 million will finance solar power production across the continent with a focus on West and Central Africa.

The  AFRIGREEN Debt Impact Fund will finance on- and off-grid solar power plants. It aims to provide lending and asset-based debt facilities for regional as well as international developers to develop solar infrastructure and isis aiming for a portfolio of twenty to thirty projects.

It will measure impacts in terms of megawatts (MW) installed and megawatt-hours (MWh) produced, tonnes of CO2 emissions and litres of fuel avoided and the number of companies directly or indirectly accessing new financing.

Critical backing

The companies behind it, RGreen Invest and ECHOSYS INVEST, have said that its first projects include commitments from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and investment from the two French banks Society Generale & BNP Paribas.

Renewable energy production and in particular solar energy development and deployment in Africa has for years held great promise due to the huge role it could play in development through the electrification of areas via solar without grid-connected investments. Across the African continent electrification is concentrated around major big cities and large swathes of areas remain unconnected to a central grid system. In addition to this, the solar radiation landing in many parts of the continent – especially its deserts – are untapped energy resources.  Funding has until now been a major stumbling block.

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