One billion people worldwide have no access to energy. The "SIMA Off-grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund" aims to reduce this number by investing in off-grid solar solutions targeting rural populations with no connectivity to grid electricity – with support from OeEB.
SIMA Off-grid Solar & Financial Access Senior Debt Fund is managed by Social Investment Managers & Advisors ("SIMA"). The fund targets climate change by creating off-grid energy access to millions of households living with little to no energy access in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. To date, the SIMA Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund I ("SIMA Fund I") has lent to 26 companies who are manufacturing, distributing, and/or financing standalone solar systems in more than 15 developing countries.
Since the Fund's inception in October 2017, portfolio companies have created more than 7 million off-grid solar connections that light homes, charge cell phones, and power farming equipment, water pumps, sewing machines, power tools, TVs, radios, and fans. The SIMA Fund's portfolio companies employ about 14,000 full-time employees and create extra income for 24,000 more people working on a commission-basis.
"The Development Bank of Austria is proud to back the innovative SIMA Fund as it aligns with our mandate to promote positive economic, environmental, and social impact through access to energy to support Bottom of the Pyramid consumers. Off-grid solar solutions are proven to serve the needs of those typically deprived of clean energy access," said Sabine Gaber, Member of Executive Board at OeEB.
"It is essential that we work towards improving global access to energy without damaging our environment. We have designed the Fund to take an ecosystem approach in order to further the outreach of quality off-grid solar products to the low-income segment," explained Xavier Pierluca, Managing Partner at SIMA. "The Fund is operating throughout the value chain of the off-grid solar sector; offering adequate financial instruments to design and manufacturing firms down to last-mile distributors operating close to the clients."
The Fund has over 30 investors representing DFIs, institutional investors, faith-based pension funds, foundations, endowments, and individuals. Investors include the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (formerly known as OPIC), Church Pension Group, Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB), The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), AXA Investment Managers, MetLife, Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), Banque de Luxembourg Investments, Mercy Investment Services, Heifer Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and Fundación Netri.