SunFunder, the US solar financing company dedicated to funding off-grid solar projects in developing countries, announced Wednesday that it had completed its Series A equity round of funding, raising $2.5 million.
The announcement came following investments from Schneider Electric, Better Ventures, and a private family foundation based in Palo Alto. This latest announcement follows on from an original Series A investment made by Khosla Impact and a group of existing angel investors.
Ryan Levinson, CEO of SunFunder, says that the investments validate the need for innovative financing solutions to unlock solar energy development in emerging markets.
“Over a third of the world lacks access to reliable energy and solar energy is leapfrogging the grid in these markets. Access to reliable finance is the main barrier preventing solar energy providers from reaching scale. In the last 2 years, SunFunder has established a solid track record and proven that the market is economically viable. This investment round will allow us to expand our capacity in local markets and substantially grow our loan portfolio.”
SunFunder first popped onto our radar in March of 2013, when it won $25,000 from Facebook and the Cleantech Group in a challenge to “leverage Facebook’s billion person network to accelerate cleantech and increase engagement in sustainability.” At the time, SunFunder was only a year old, and it seems to have benefited greatly from the flush of funds.
A year and a half later and SunFunder has financed $1.3 million worth of solar projects in 6 countries, and claims to maintain a 0% default rate.
SunFunder works out of San Francisco and Tanzania, and provides short-term, working capital and project finance loans for solar home systems, microgrids, and commercial solar projects in emerging markets. Such a service is a virtual necessity in the developing world, where access to clean and renewable energy is increasingly beneficial over the long-term, but still prohibitively expensive in the short-term.
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