ImpactAlpha, May 23 – Companies trying to improve energy access often grapple with foreign exchange problem: their investors support them in dollars and euros but their customers pay them in local currency. The Off-Grid Energy Access Fund’s goal is to help those companies circumvent the problem by lending to them in local currency.
Off-grid solar company BBOXX is one of the fund’s first beneficiaries. The Off-Grid Energy Access Fund has issued BBOXX an $8 million loan (roughly 7.3 billion Rwandan francs) to expand sales of its solar home systems in Rwanda, where it currently has 800,000 systems installed in homes and businesses.
The funding follows a $31 million equity investment in BBOXX from Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) in January to expand in Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Off-Grid Energy Access Fund was launched last year by the African Development Bank as part of its $500 million Facility for Energy Inclusion. The Nordic Development Fund, the Global Environment Facility, Calvert Impact Capital and Nigeria-based energy impact investor All On also backed the fund. It reached a $58 million first close in August towards a $100 million goal.