ZOLA Electric closes $20 million in debt financing


ZOLA Electric (“ZOLA”), Africa’s leading renewable energy brand formerly known as Off Grid Electric, today announced $20 million in new debt financing from SunFunder and a values-aligned family office. SunFunder contributed $5 million USD and the family office acted as the arranger and completed the balance.

This financing marks the completion of the third transaction between ZOLA and SunFunder, a specialist finance provider focused on supplying funds for solar assets in emerging economies. ZOLA and SunFunder have worked together since 2014. Due to the ongoing success of their transactions, their relationship has grown with each new investment.

The new investment will support ZOLA’s continued expansion across Africa and bring affordable, accessible and reliable solar energy to an additional 25,000 customers in four countries. Additionally, it’s estimated that between now and when the loan matures in mid-2021, 500,000 households will experience improved energy access. A reduction in the use of kerosene is also expected, which could result in 250,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide output.

“We are excited to announce the next chapter in our relationship with these two lenders,” said Bill Lenihan, Co-CEO, ZOLA Electric. “This investment will support our growth in new and existing markets, our continued support to the communities in which we operate and the ongoing development of our industry-leading product offering.”

“ZOLA’s technologically advanced product offering and innovative business model have attracted an incredible group of strategic and capital partners,” continued Lenihan. “SunFunder and the family office join a roster of strategic and capital partners that is the strongest in the industry, including Tesla, Total, EDF, DBL Partners, Helios Investment Partners and GE Ventures.”

“SunFunder’s strength in building scalable relationships is a core aspect of our business and supports the long-term success of the industry,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder CEO. “We are excited about the next chapter in our relationship with ZOLA as we work together towards creating lasting change.”

About ZOLA Electric
ZOLA Electric (formerly Off Grid Electric) is the leading renewable energy brand in Africa, helping customers to light their homes, power small businesses, stay connected and expand opportunities for work and study. By providing solar technology that is affordable, accessible and reliable, ZOLA Electric’s offerings allow the average home or business to leapfrog the grid. ZOLA Electric designs renewable energy solutions based on the latest in solar, battery and power electronics technology. Adaptable to energy need and income, ZOLA Electric’s solar systems can be bought over time using PAYGo micro-finance leasing and mobile money payments. ZOLA Electric powers more than 180,000 homes and businesses across Tanzania, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Investors include Tesla, Vulcan Capital, DBL Partners, Helios Investment Partners, EDF, Total and GE Ventures. ZOLA Electric is a recipient of the UN Momentum for Change Award, the Zayed Future Energy Prize and is a member of the Global Cleantech 100.

About SunFunder
Since 2012, SunFunder has provided debt financing for nearly 40 solar companies in Africa and Asia, directly improving energy access for over 3.5 million people. SunFunder raises capital through private debt offerings, and has unlocked over $60 million from investors to date. SunFunder exists to solve the financing bottleneck for off-grid and weak-grid solar, providing working capital loans, receivables financing and project financing to manufacturers, distributors, developers, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and India.