The Rockefeller Foundation has today (February 12) announced that it is investing in cKers Finance for asset financing in the sustainable energy sectors, with the aim of scaling up the country’s nascent decentralized renewable energy (DRE) industry.
Rajiv J. Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, announced the investment in cKers during the India Energy Access Summit, 2018, which is currently being held in New Delhi until February 13.
According to present analysis in the market, DRE solutions have emerged as among the most promising for connecting the 300 million Indians who are currently living with little to no electricity access.
cKers claims that it is India’s only catalytic debt provider and brings a differentiated approach to providing competitive project finance and long-term venture debt financing for these much-needed last mile infrastructure interventions.
“Mini-grids have proven the potential that economic electrification can unleash in India’s most underserved communities. Across the 120 mini-grids in our smart power network, we have seen businesses grow, village economies thrive, and individuals lifting themselves out of poverty when they have sufficient and reliable access to energy,” said Shah.
cKers explained that the mini-grid developers are currently hindered by the inability to access debt, especially from within India. Moreover, those that do can face interest rates as high as 20% because lenders remain wary of existing companies’ lack of scale.
New-Delhi based finance company cKers anticipates devoting 10-15% of its portfolio to mini-grids. Pawan Mehra, Director of cKers Finance told pv magazine: “We expect 80% of the mini/micro-grid solutions to be solar presently.”
Upon asking for investment number from the Rockefeller Foundation, cKers refused to disclose the amount. However, Mehra told pv magazine: “We expect to invest $50 million across DRE and sustainable energy portfolio in the near term, and the Rockefeller Foundation is one of the early investors.”
Jayant Prasad, Executive Director of cKers Finance, added: “We bring a deep techno-financing understanding, allowing us to support innovative, asset-intensive service models.”
“cKers is injecting the market with much-needed capital to spur the growth of India’s DRE sector, ultimately broadening the reach of energy’s transformative power,” said Mehra.
Mehra added that, as models emerge to interconnect mini-grids with India’s central grid, it is a positive step in achieving India’s power for all mission.