By financing off-grid solar solutions targeting rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Solar Energy Transformation Fund (SET) aims to improve access to energy and reduce CO2 emissions – with support from OeEB. 

Around one billion people worldwide still live without access to energy. Rural regions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, show the greatest deficit. 

The Solar Energy Transformation Fund ("SET") aims to reduce this number. With a total volume of around USD 70 million, the fund finances companies along the entire value chain in the field of solar home systems, offgrid solar systems for commercial and industrial companies, and so-called income generating assets (e.g. solar-powered pumps for irrigation or mini grids) with a focus on projects in Africa. 

USD 7.5 million of the fund's total USD 70 million was provided by OeEB. SET is the third debt fund in the off-grid solar sector for fund manager SunFunder and aims to create access to energy for around 3 million people while saving around 250,000 tCO2 per year in greenhouse gas emissions.

Sabine Gaber, member of OeEB’s Executive Board, said: "Increasing access to energy while at the same time protecting our climate is a precondition for sustainable development and at the heart of OeEB’s strategy. Off-grid solutions have played a critical role in delivering clean, affordable and reliable energy, especially to rural populations. We are therefore proud to team up with SunFunder – an impact-driven and experienced partner in this field – and to back this innovative fund which improves access to energy for millions of people."

Ryan Levinson, CEO of SunFunder, said: "We are so grateful to our new investor partners who believed in us and worked so hard to close the SET Fund, especially during a year with so many new challenges and uncertainties. Thanks are also due to our anchor investors who have now made repeat investments in our work over the years. We look forward to building on these new and existing partnerships as we expand our climate and energy access investments through SET and beyond."

As well as OeEB, SET has received investments from Swedfund, Bank of America, Mercy Investment Services, The Schmidt Family Foundation and several individual investors, including from the Toniic impact investor network. They joined anchor first close investors the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Calvert Impact Capital, Ceniarth and the IKEA Foundation.