OPIC injects Sh600m into solar installation company
By Rolex Owino
America’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has injected Sh600 million into Nairobi-based CrossBoundary Energy – a firm that funds industrial and commercial solar installation ventures across East Africa.
The fresh capital is a debt secured by expected earnings from upcoming projects as well as earnings from past projects such as the Garden City Mall (Nairobi) solar installation, Unilever Tea Kenya (Kericho), Unilever Ghana, Guinness Ghana, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana and Bralirwa Brewery in Gisenyi, Rwanda.
OPIC head Ray Washburne said the funds will enable CrossBoundary Energy to implement six projects at various corporate sites in Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana – producing a total of 5.75 megawatts.
“We are pleased to be supporting them to expand the provision of cleaner and cheaper power that helps African enterprises grow and bolsters the mission of Power Africa,” Washburne said.
CrossBoundary co-Managing Partner Matthew Tilleard hailed OPIC’s commitment, saying it will help the identified companies reduce reliance on the national grid and access affordable solar power that is environmental-friendly.
“A lack of reliable and affordable power is holding back private sector-led development in manufacturing and other large industries in Africa,” he said.
CrossBoundary Energy funds the full installation of the solar equipment and manages the same for their clients who sign long-term solar power purchase agreements without contributing upfront investment, or taking technical risk on construction and maintenance.
The firm has 28.8 MW solar power projects at various sites under operation, construction or awarded – with the bulk of their projects spread across Africa.
CrossBoundary currently employees 50 people at its various offices in Nairobi, Bamako(Mali), Johannesburg (South Africa), Lagos(Nigeria), Dubai(UAE), New York and Washington, D.C.
Other projects funded by OPIC include Nairobi’s Mobius Motors that received a Sh500 million loan to fund construction of a fully-fledged manufacturing unit, with plans afoot to also fund reconstruction and expansion of the 472-kilometre Nairobi-Mombasa highway whose contract has been awarded to US based Bechtel Company.
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Business Daily Africa.