(Article first published by the New Times, Rwanda on 16/02/2017: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-02-16/208062/)
BBOXX, a leading global off-grid solar company, has successfully closed a debt facility equivalent to US$2 million in local currency with Atlas Mara’s Rwandan entity, Banque Populaire du Rwanda. The deal is the first of its kind in the industry and adds additional prowess to BBOXX’s unique fundraising abilities; in late 2015, the company also became the first to securitise an off-grid solar home portfolio.
BBOXX has pioneered a distributed energy platform with a data-driven technology to deliver off-grid energy to rural households. Since 2010, BBOXX has provided off-grid electricity to more than 500,000 people in 35 countries around the world. This latest deal will enable the company to grow its operations in Rwanda, where it has already deployed 20,000 systems, and jobs to over 300 Rwandans as the largest and most sophisticated off-grid company in the country.
“We are excited about the growth potential for the Rwandan residential solar market and the support we are receiving from BPR” said Justus Mucyo, Head of Retail Operations, Africa.
“This marks not just the beginning of our relationship with the bank but accelerates the Government of Rwanda’s vision of 40% off-grid household energy access by 2018. BBOXX is poised to inject another $200 million to realise that vision within the timeframe.”
“We are pleased to partner with BBOXX to introduce a state of the art financing scheme to support the Government of Rwanda’s initiative for mass electrification. This is a new product which we believe can be replicated with other providers and will go a long way in catalysing the banking sector’s support towards rural electrification. We thank BBOXX for the opportunity and look forward to expanding this relationship” said Sanjeev Anand, CEO of BPR.
It is anticipated that this latest financing will increase confidence in the sector, showing that the rural asset class is bankable, and that this financing structure is a viable means to attract the billions of dollars needed to serve the off-grid masses. Progress has already been made with the recently announced pilot between ENGIE, one of the world’s largest private energy companies, and BBOXX bringing off-grid solar electrification to Cameroon.