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Mr Tilleard said, ‘SolarAfrica already has a strong network of partners and we are actively looking for new developers who are interested in offering a financed solar solution to their potential customers. We welcome interest from developers across Africa. We are currently in operation in Kenya and are hoping to expand to up to three additional countries in the next three to six months. Our funding is available for solar projects above 200 kWp that serve commercial and industrial customers.’ Mr Cusack commented, “The fund is a unique and innovative financing platform that will pioneer an entire new asset class in Africa. It is backed by a prestigious group of investors from the USA and Australia attracted both by the commercial returns and the opportunity for positive environmental and economic impact.” Investors include Blue Haven Initiative, TreeHouse Investments and Ceniarth. Critical support for affordable energy Power Africa has been a crucial supporter of CrossBoundary Energy. Through Power Africa, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provided an early-stage grant to support establishment costs and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided a US$1.3mn first-loss contribution to the fund. Mr Tilleard noted that this “was a groundbreaking innovation by USAID that helped attract private investors to this opportunity”. In addition, the Shell Foundation, an

Electricity is a fundamental necessity for economic growth in Africa. Yet across the continent, electricity remains expensive and unreliable. According to estimates by McKinsey, almost 600 million people remain without electricity; approximately 70% of the population.”

capital to finance upfront installation costs of solar systems, CrossBoundary has made solar affordable for the malls, hotels, schools and small businesses it serves in Africa. Chadbourne congratulates the CrossBoundary team whose tenacity and vision has unlocked a promising new market in Africa." At fund close, CrossBoundary Energy also announced that its first major investment is an 858 kWp solar installation at the Garden City Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr Tilleard announced, “It is the largest rooftop solar system in East Africa and the largest solar carport system in Africa. It is also the largest solar PPA that we are aware of with a private consumer in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is an exciting first step on CrossBoundary Energy and SolarAfrica’s mission to introduce solaras-service to African enterprises.”

independent charity, has also provided grant funding and business support to accelerate CrossBoundary's expansion into markets outside of Kenya and lay the groundwork for follow-on funds. The transaction was led by Chadbourne & Parke LLP with local counsel support from the Africa Legal Network and Viva Africa. Ikenna Emehelu, a partner at Chadbourne said, "We helped solar companies create a market for distributed energy in the USA. We have seen that mass-market adoption of renewable energy occurs not when technology becomes available, but when it becomes affordable. By pooling institutional

Opportunities in clean infrastructure Providing clean energy for African businesses represents a major commercial and environmental opportunity. The development of innovative energy financing and business models in Africa means the continent could have smarter, cleaner and more decentralised electricity infrastructure than developed countries. Mr Cusack noted, “Through the first dedicated fund for Commercial & Industrial solar, CrossBoundary Energy hopes to help Africa take a clean path to development through a transition to improved infrastructure and increased economic productivity with minimised environmental impact.” ■

The solar panelled carport at Garden City Mall in Nairobi


African Review of Business and Technology - April 2016

Profile for Alain Charles Publishing

African Review April 2016  

African Review April 2016