Paris-based asset manager Mirova has acquired African solar energy specialist SunFunder as it looks to establish itself as a leader in impact investing.
Based in Kenya with over $165 million worth of clean energy investments, SunFunder offers financing solutions for the decentralized solar energy sector in Africa and Asia.
The firm has been involved in several projects including deploying off-grid solar home systems in Malawi, village mini-grid projects in Kenya, and commercial and industrial rooftop installations in Nigeria and Thailand.
In a statement announcing the acquisition, Mirova said the move would support its aim to become a global leader in impact investing, sustainable investment, and real assets.
Mirova and SunFunder’s first objective post-acquisition is to launch a solar energy debt financing fund with an investment capacity of $500 million. The fund has already lined up about 70 projects throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. The fund’s first close is expected by the end of this year.
Subject to the completion of the acquisition, Mirova — which itself is part of French multi-boutique asset manager Natixis — will own 100% of SunFunder. Mirova’s ownership will strengthen SunFunder’s local investment and execution capabilities for its private assets strategies, the asset manager said.
Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova, said: “In order to thoroughly address the challenges that come with the fight against global warming and social inequalities, having a local presence in emerging countries is critical.
“We are delighted that SunFunder's teams, with their proven experience and expertise, are joining us. Together, we will pursue our efforts to meet the needs of the real economy and increase the impact of our investments.”
The World Bank estimates that Africa’s solar power capacity is roughly half that of the UK, despite it receiving more sunlight hours than any other continent. However, solar power companies are growing, with two — Starsight Energy and KarmSolar — among the continent’s fastest growing companies, according recent research by Statista.