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HomeBanking & FinanceBondsInfraCredit’s Guarantee Mobilises Local Currency Debt Issue for Solar Powered Rural Infrastructure Project

InfraCredit’s Guarantee Mobilises Local Currency Debt Issue for Solar Powered Rural Infrastructure Project

InfraCredit, a ‘AAA’-rated specialised infrastructure credit guarantee institution, is pleased to announce the credit enhancement of ACOB Lighting Technology Limited, a renewable energy company’s debt issue under a co-financing arrangement with the Climate Finance Blending Facility (the “Climate Facility”) with £10 million seed funding from the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the third transaction under the Climate Facility.

The InfraCredit’s Clean Energy Funding Programme (“CEFP” or the “Programme”) seeks to aggregate, de-risk and unlock domestic institutional investments to support eligible clean energy projects in Nigeria to contribute towards meeting the country’s universal electrification goal by 2030 and the SDG 7 target of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, whilst putting the country on a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2060.

The Climate Facility provided subordinated first-loss capital that helped de-risk and reduce the capital cost of the project by crowding in 7-year fixed-rate local currency green debt issue in matching direct investments from eight (8) domestic institutional investors in a solar mini-grid project for unserved markets, resulting in a blended affordable interest rate. The financing will be utilised to construct, install and commission isolated solar mini-grids with a total capacity of 335 kW in seven (7) communities without grid access within Edo State and Ondo State in Nigeria (“the Project”).

The Project, upon completion, will electrify up to 3,597 unserved households and small businesses, create up to 868 temporary and permanent jobs, and avoid 352 tonnes of GHG emissions whilst enhancing access to renewable energy for productive uses. The nominated projects & assets conform to the Climate Bonds Standard Solar Sector Criteria, and the financing has been labelled and certified green by the Climate Bonds Initiative.

Speaking on the transaction, the Chief Executive Officer of ACOB Lighting Technology Limited Mr Alexander Obiechina stated: “This funding presents a significant opportunity for ACOB to actualise its vision of bridging the huge energy poverty gap that exists in the country using decentralised renewable energy technologies. The local currency blended finance is no doubt a catalyst that unlocks the patient capital our sector has been yearning for over the years. ACOB is particularly grateful to InfraCredit and all the stakeholders that enabled this transaction including FCDO, the REA and the Nigeria Electrification Project, and is well-positioned to harness more opportunities like this, particularly innovative blended financing that addresses the Productive Use of Energy to stimulate demand and boost economic growth as we scale mini-grid deployment.”

The CEO of InfraCredit, Chinua Azubike, said: “We are pleased to have supported another indigenous Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) company with the vision of increasing energy access in Nigeria through off-grid solar mini-grid infrastructure to access long term affordable local currency financing. The Nigerian domestic institutional investors continue to demonstrate their appetite to invest in climate-aligned infrastructure that enables more inclusive access to essential services such as energy. The success of this transaction would not have been possible without the use of the catalytic first-loss capital from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), and Technical Assistance Facility from FSD Africa. Both support mechanisms, working together, have been instrumental in mobilising private sector and domestic institutional investors to invest in off-grid distributed renewable energy infrastructure with the potential impacts to create jobs, reduce GHG emissions and increase energy access for households and productive use.”

The UK Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter said: “We are pleased that the UK-funded climate finance blended facility, managed by InfraCredit, continues to support green-certified local currency debt issue for off-grid solar in Nigeria. Distributed Renewable Energy is an essential solution to drive multiple goals of increasing reliable and efficient energy access in unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria, supporting Nigeria’s energy transition plan and net zero targets.”

The seven (7) hybrid-solar mini-grids will have environmental benefits of climate change mitigation, energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction and simultaneously have a positive direct contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 17 as identified in the Green Bond Framework. The green debt issue was verified by Agusto & Co as a green verifier, and the guaranteed senior debt was rated “AAA” by Global Credit Ratings.

The technical, legal, environmental, and social due diligence costs and green verification of the debt instrument were supported by funding provided by FSD Africa under a Technical Assistance Agreement with InfraCredit to support first-time issuer costs for eligible projects that can issue climate-aligned local currency infrastructure debt.

The Project is registered under the World Bank Nigeria Electrification Project Performance Based Grant Programme administered by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The REA is a rural electrification government agency established to implement, provide, and support decentralized electrification in Nigeria.

InfraCredit signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in August 2022 with the REA to help eliminate long-term financing bottlenecks for off-grid operators in the energy sector by enabling credit enhancement and financing to private sector mini-grid developers to enable adequate power generation and supply to underserved and unserved areas.

 

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