American $1.2m loan to finance Kenyan Solar Energy start-up

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American clean energy financier SunFunder has agreed to finance a $1.2 million loan facility for Questworks, a Kenyan firm focused on delivering a strong pipeline of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects.

Questworks is among Nairobi’s foremost commercial and industrial renewable energy companies, and has built a significant track record over the past five years – building more than 2MW of solar projects.

The company completed Nairobi’s first C&I solar installation in 2014 – the 600kW hybrid system at Strathmore University, which was also Kenya’s first solar project to sign a power purchase agreement.

Earlier last month, SunFunder launched a working capital debt facility with Questworks to support their financing needs – as they fulfil a strong pipeline of C&I solar projects in Nairobi. This will help the company complete more sector-leading installations. Questworks also comes with a strong EPC background in real estate development in Kenya.

“We are very happy to have secured this SunFunder support which will enable us to execute on our growing solar pipeline,” notes Tim Kipchumba, co-founder of Questworks. “The demand for debt financing from end users is surging and we believe there is also an exciting opportunity to partner with SunFunder on longer-tenor loans to end users.”

The economics of solar now offer compelling business cases for grid-tied as well as off-grid C&I solar installations. By adding solar to offset grid power and backup diesel generation, C&I end users – such as universities, offices and hospitals – can cut costs, contribute to a greener economy and improve the reliability of their energy supply. The key bottleneck for commercial end-users is often debt financing and Questworks has introduced leasing options in order to address the growing demand for solar.

“During our due diligence we were highly impressed by Questworks’ in-house technical team and the diversity of skills that make them a one-stop shop for end users and real estate developers wanting to build solar PV systems,” notes Audrey Desiderato, co-founder and COO at SunFunder.

Philip Mwangi, Director Renewable Energy at Questworks commented: “We are excited at the prospects of cost savings for our private and public sector clients. We are currently commissioning the first phase of the largest public sector, C&I solar project at Kenya School of Monetary Studies – due in June 2018.”

Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.