Norwegian investment company, Empower New Energy has raised from impact investors $74million for the financing of the solar projects in Africa.
The money is part of a funding round led by Climate Fund Managers (CFM), the manager of Climate Investor One (CIO). The initiative is also supported by the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (NORFUND) and the investment company Janeiro Energy AS.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has also been involved in setting up the Empower investment platform. The same applies to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), a financing mechanism managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
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With this capital, Empower is hoping to provide solar energy to more than 50 companies in Africa. Over the next three years, the company will also leverage the platform set up by CFM, NORFUND, NORAD and SEFA to invest another $100 million through loans.
In an overall investment that would generate 249GWh of cleam electricity per year, avoiding emissions of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the same period, the company aims to develop, build, own and operate more than 150 MW of solar projects, including battery storage systems.
“In much of Africa, businesses tend to pay 25-50% more for electricity than elsewhere in the world,” notes Terje Osmundsen, founder and CEO of Empower New Energy.
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In addition to financing and supplying clean energy to commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, the Oslo, Norway-based investment company also plans to allocate 1% of project revenues to a community development programme, focusing on initiatives that will have a significant impact on socially disadvantaged communities in its markets.
Osmundsen said this will reinforce the project’s eco-responsible approach.