International group offers $68m loans for struggling off-grid clean energy distributors

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From pv magazine International

A coalition of government and international development agencies and private impact investors has closed $68 million of a hoped-for more-than $80 million of low-interest credit to help off-grid energy companies in Africa and Asia squeezed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With Covid disruption exacerbated by rising renewable energy equipment costs, the partners in the newly-convened Energy Access Relief Fund (EARF) want to mobilize the cash to be lent to “more than 90” suppliers of the likes of solar lanternsclean cooking stoves, solar home systems, and mini-grids.

Quoted in a press release issued to publicize the initiative yesterday, Shell Foundation director Sam Parker said the hope was that similar investors would follow suit as “much more capital will be needed in the coming months to continue progress toward universal energy access.”

The short-term credit will be provided by a group convened by U.S.-based philanthropic investor Acumen and managed by New York City-based venture capital peer Social Investment Managers and Advisors.

The other members of the EARF grouping are U.S. government funded Power Africa, the United States Agency for International Development, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; U.K. government-financed UK Aid and CDC Group; Netherlands government-controlled development bank FMO; government-backed peers the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; multilateral public bodies the Green Climate Fund, which is part of the UN, and the World Bank and its International Finance Corp private sector arm; and private entities the Ikea Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Shell Foundation.

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