responsAbility, the Swiss sustainable asset manager focusing exclusively on impact investing, and OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria, have concluded a syndication loan of USD 14 million for Swimsol, the pioneering Austrian renewable energy company which develops floating and rooftop solar assets in the Maldives and other island states. The proceeds from this debt financing facility are crucial to fund the expansion of Swimsol’s solar asset portfolio, while delivering high climate impact.
Where space and land are limited, Swimsol comes in. The Austrian renewable energy company provides affordable and durable solar power systems for the coastal tropics, having developed their own proprietary floating solar solution, called SolarSea. Launched in 2014, SolarSea is the world’s first commercial renewable solar energy product for the sea surface. And as a global leader in offshore (marine) photovoltaics, Swimsol is currently the leading provider of floating and rooftop solar assets in the Maldives and an expert in island solar micro-grids. Delivering superior and much needed energy solutions has set the pioneering Austrian firm on a solid growth path.
To enable Swimsol’s growth, and more specifically, to expand its solar asset portfolio in the Maldives, OeEB (Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank) has partnered with responsAbility to conclude a syndication loan equalling USD 14 million. The loan provides crucial funding to grow Swimsol’s high-climate-impact renewable energy solutions in the archipelagic state located about 750km off the coast of India and Sri Lanka.
Swimsol provides solar energy via Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in the Maldives mainly to companies active in the tourism sector, such as hotels and island resorts, in order to help the transition away from using diesel generators for electricity production, which is noisy and produces high CO2 emissions. Replacing diesel and adding solar and batteries to the power systems results in direct climate benefits by reducing CO2 emissions. In addition, the limited land space on the islands restricts the number of solar panels that can be installed on roofs. Seeing the huge potential to create impact, Swimsol created SolarSea, the commercial renewable energy product that creates space for solar panels on the sea surface – solar power beyond land limitations.
The debt financing facility for Swimsol is via a responsAbility climate fund, which provides debt financing to companies supporting increased access to energy with a strong geographical focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. The fund is managed by responsAbility Investments and Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB) is also an investor in the investment vehicle targeting high climate impact to its investors.
The renewable energy industry is crucial to the success of the UN Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Renewable energy is core to SDG 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, and also to the implementation of SDG 13, on urgent action to combat climate change. Further, access to clean energy is an essential prerequisite to achieving many of the other SDGs.
Getting the world on track for 1.5 °C and to reach net zero by 2050 requires a surge in annual investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure to nearly USD 4 trillion by 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) writes in its newly published World Energy Outlook 2021. Some 70% of the additional spending is needed in emerging market and developing economies. Highlighting that the solutions to close the gap with a 1.5 ° path are available – and many highly cost-effective - the IEA sees finance as the missing link to accelerate clean energy deployment in developing economies in this pivotal moment for energy and climate. A global authority on energy transition, the agency expects that most transition-related energy investments will need to be carried out by private developers, consumers and financiers. This project is a clear contribution to this call by the global community.
Wolfgang Putschek, CFO of Swimsol: “In the past years Swimsol has established itself as the leading provider for solar energy in the Maldives. The loan received under this facility will enable Swimsol to continue on its path to replace diesel as energy source and to contribute its share to create a cleaner environment. The solar system portfolio in the Maldives will serve as a springboard for the expansion to other tropical island regions, like Malaysia or Indonesia.”
Sabine Gaber, Member of OeEB’s Executive Board: "Improving access to clean, reliable energy that enables economic development while at the same time protecting our climate is one of the key challenges of our time and a central investment priority for OeEB. Austrian businesses have extensive know-how in this field and we are proud to support Swimsol in expanding this innovative clean energy solution."
Antoine Prédour, Head of Climate Finance, responsAbility: "We are excited to support Swimsol in expanding their already substantial solar portfolio. Their solar solutions create a direct benefit to the Climate via a reduction in diesel usage on the islands, and we look forward to supporting them in the future in Maldives and other island nations."