By Cindy Nawilis, community & operations lead
In July 2012, SunFunder launched with a $4,000 solar crowd project to benefit 500 people in the Palawan islands of the Philippines. Since then, we have attracted more than $414,000 in hybrid capital investments for 20 more solar projects in 5 other countries. With that kind of track record and community support, we can now raise much larger crowd investments at a time for individual projects; last week, we successfully funded a $30,000 microgrid solar crowd project in India and launched a $50,000 solar crowd project in Ntungamo, Uganda.
Switch On Ntungamo is the fifth project that has been launched under SunFunder’s partnership with SolarNow. Our last project with SolarNow was successfully funded in just 14 days in February, so we’re excited to do even better now!
Like previous projects with SolarNow, Switch On Ntungamo focuses on distributing 50W solar home systems to households in rural districts of Uganda. However, to further lower the cost of solar, SolarNow has extended their consumer financing from 12 month to 18 month payment plans. For this reason, they need more working capital loans upfront, which we feel confident that our community is ready to supply. You can learn more about the project details on our website, and please consider investing in the project:
Let’s Prove Solar is Economically Viable and Ultimately Bankable
With this project as with all of our projects, SunFunder is out to prove the economic viability of solar in emerging markets. Proving solar’s economic viability is necessary to unlock greater access to finance for solar companies in emerging markets. The world needs nearly $1 trillion in cumulative investment to achieve universal energy access by 2030 according to International Energy Agency. But right now, most North American and European banks and traditional solar financiers deem the off-grid solar sector too small, too risky and too experimental. Hence the sector is lacking the critical access to finance to grow, which impedes the global progress to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
To ensure that capital investments flow into the off-grid solar sector, SunFunder provides people anywhere in the world a way to invest in off-grid solar projects and help startup solar companies scale. These crowd investments are complemented with private investments from accredited investors to meet the growing working capital needs of those solar companies, which is much larger than what crowd investments alone could supply. Switch On Ntungamo follows this hybrid capital model; the project’s $50,000 crowd investment is complemented by a $200,000 private investment from SunFunder’s private investment facility, the the Solar Empowerment Fund.