High Impact Investing in Solar Power to Serve People Below Poverty Line

High Impact Investing in Solar Power to Serve People Below Poverty Line

responsAbility provides funding of USD 14 Million to d.light, enabling its expansion across Africa

Brighter Life Kenya 2 (“BLK2”), the newly established financing vehicle, receives $14 Million of financing from responsAbility, the Swiss sustainable asset manager focused on impact investing.

BLK2 is the largest off-balance-sheet financing facility of its kind. The financing provides d.light with flexible working capital.

d.light is a leading innovator of solar-powered transformational products for low-income families in Kenya. The funding paves the way for d.light to sustainably expand its operations across Africa.

responsAbility’s financing is provided via three funds managed inhouse. responsAbility has had an established relationship with d.light since 2017 and this transaction is a clear step to further supporting d.light’s growth.

responsAbility provides $14 Million of funding to the newly launched financing vehicle BLK2, which was jointly established by Solar Frontier Capital Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of African Frontier Capital (Mauritius), and d.light design.

The company d.light design is a leading global innovator of solar-powered transformational products for low-income families. BLK2’s financing will pave the way for d.light to expand its PayGo operations across Africa.

ResponsAbility’s debt financing takes place through three funds managed inhouse and is part of a $62 Million senior lending facility supported by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Norfund, and Oikocredit.

AFC acts as the subordinated lender as well as the master servicer and back-up servicer under the transaction and, more generally, as sponsor of the structure.

BLK2 is an off-balance sheet financing vehicle that provides d.light with flexible working capital, enabling the company to make its products universally available and affordable for customers, most of whom live below poverty line and lack access to reliable power in Kenya.

The facility will finance a range of transformative products that drive quality-of-life improvements, from solar home systems to high-efficiency appliances and smartphones.

BLK2 is the largest off-balance-sheet facility in the industry thus far, and comes on the heels of d.light celebrating 125 million lives impacted globally.

BLK2 has been structured to provide d.light with multi-currency financing (up to the equivalent of $238 Million in face value of receivables) over a two-year commitment period.

This gives the company continued access to sustainable and affordable receivable financing for its Kenyan business with a plan to expand to other African countries in the near future.

The structure is expected to directly impact over 2.8 million lives including the over 1.9 million people with improved access to clean and modern energy who, together, will reduce over 600,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Mark Davis, EVP Clean Energy at Norfund, commented: “As a long-term equity investor in d.light, Norfund has been impressed with how the company has given millions of people access to clean energy.

"We are especially pleased that we through this deal are able to provide capital in local currency, to reduce borrowing costs and make it possible for d.light to give increased quality of life through solar energy to even more people.”

Ned Tozun, CEO, d.light, said: "Establishing a large, scalable, multi-currency financing facility will enable millions of families to transform their lives through access to products that were previously out of reach.

"This facility paves the way for a long-term sustainable business model to bring affordable and transformative technology products to customers who are unbanked and without access to electricity."

James Todd, Head of Renewable Energy at Oikocredit, commented: “This facility will impact the lives of millions in Kenya and we are highly confident that it will prove to be a template for even greater impact across the continent.

"We are thrilled to be able to support d.light’s continuous upward trajectory through the sustainable expansion of its pay-as-you-go activities.”

Eric De Moudt, Founder and CEO, African Frontier Capital, remarked: "We are incredibly excited to be able to support d.light as it continues to transform so many millions of lives across Africa with such positive environmental and social impact in a financially sustainable manner."

Antonia Schaeli, Deputy Head Direct Investments Climate Finance, responsAbility, said: "We are pleased to be part of this innovative receivable financing structure to support d.light’s dynamic growth in Kenya and across African countries.

"This further reinforces responsAbility’s partnership with d.light started in 2017, providing financing towards solar-powered transformative products to retail consumers."

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