Norwegian renewable energy and investment company focused on Africa, Empower New Energy, has this week announced the completion of a USD74 million equity fund-raising for the execution of two new solar investments in Morocco and Nigeria.
The equity fund-raising for the projects was led by Climate Fund Managers (CFM), a Cape Town based investment fund manager, and included Norfund and Brazil’s Janeiro Energy.
The equity raise and these first projects pave the way for Empower New Energy (Empower) to develop, finance, own and operate an initial 150 MW of solar projects in Africa over the next four years, transforming Empower into one of the leading renewable investment platform companies serving the commercial and industrial(C&I) sector in Africa.
The investment of USD 74 million will enable the company to deliver approximately 240 GWh of clean electricity produced locally, avoid more than 200,000 tons of CO2 per year and create or protect approximately 15,000 jobs. As an impact investor, 1% of the revenues generated by Empower’s projects will be deployed into a community development programme focused on delivering high impact in socially disadvantaged communities in Africa.
“Africa needs more than a tripling of yearly investment to meet its CO2 mitigation targets and energy needs. We are thrilled by the opportunity to work with CFM, Norfund and our other investors to scale up local solar and hybrid power plants in Africa,” says Terje Osmundsen, founder and CEO of Empower New Energy.
“Climate Investor One has been a strong supporter of the commercial and industrial (C & I) solar sector throughout Asia, where it has successfully invested in platforms with over 700 MW of additional capacity. Through our investment in Empower New Energy we are committed to replicating this model and its benefits on the African continent, supporting Empower’s ambition to become a leading C&I Platform for Africa.” says Sebastian Surie of Climate Fund Managers.
“Empower has developed a business model that provides commercial and industrial customers with clean, reliable, and affordable solar energy that helps cut both costs and emissions. Norfund is pleased to continue our partnership with Empower and increase our investment in this fundraising round.” adds Anders Blom of Norfund.
Expanding renewable energy in Morocco and Nigeria
The first solar investments, totalling USD 3 million, include Empower’s inaugural project in Morocco in collaboration with local partner, Jet Energy. Empower finances the construction and operation of 4 solar rooftop plants located in Had Soualem, Atlas, Fes and Mediouna totalling 2 MWp under a 16-year offtake contract with the Moroccan agro-alimentary group, Zalar Holding.
The investment by Empower into its second project in Nigeria sees a partnership with the Nigerian EPC company, Dartz Technology, to build a 1MWp ground mounted Solar PV installation at the agro-processing factory of Harvest Farms located in Abeokuta, Nigeria, under a 12-year Power Sales Agreement. The two investments are estimated to result in approximately 3000 tons of CO2 saved per year.