Solar Fund Invests in Kenya

On March 28, 2002 Solar Development Capital disbursed its first investment, in Solagen Ltd., a photovoltaic (PV) distributor in Kenya. The company, a distributor for BP Solar, has imported, sold and installed solar (PV & thermal) equipment in Kenya since 1994, and will now use debt and equity from SDC to expand into rural markets.

ARLINGTON, Virginia – April 25, 2002 [] “Only 2 percent of the Kenya’s households have access to the electric grid, which is unreliable and insufficient to meet demand,” said Candace Smith, Chief Operating Officer of SDC. “Solar PV presents a stand-alone micro power resource that is often the least-cost option in off-grid areas.” Solagen is working with Kenya Commercial Bank and other credit providers to finance PV sales to individuals and groups for domestic and commercial use. Credit allows deeper market penetration, as most consumers, despite high monthly expenditures for kerosene and other energy sources, cannot afford the up-front payment for a PV system. Solagen has outlets in Nairobi, Nakuru, Merou and Eldout. Solar Development Capital is a commercial private equity fund that invests in private companies serving the off-grid power sector in developing countries. The investment in Solagen follows support to the company provided by Solar Development Foundation in November 2000. The Foundation funds technical and management assistance for companies that distribute PV and other renewable energy to off-grid communities in developing countries. To date, it has provided US$1.2 million in funding to 25 entrepreneurs.
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