British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, and Stanbic Bank Kenya (“Stanbic”), a member of the Standard Bank Group, have announced commitments to Sun King, a leading off-grid solar energy company, through a $130 million funding round and a joint $20 million working capital facility.
Targeting further expansion, Sun King is backed by prominent DFIs and commercial lenders, including Absa, BII, FMO, Norfund, Stanbic Bank Kenya, the Trade and Development Bank (TDB), and Citi.
These two complementary commitments will enable the purchase of more inventory such as solar home systems and solar lanterns, and facilitate customers’ access to new solar products via credit, securitised and funded by investors – catalysing company growth. To date, Sun King has powered the lives of over 100 million people. These investments will accelerate Sun King’s ability to equip more Kenyan households and businesses with green, reliable and modern energy.
The entirely Kenyan-Shilling-denominated securitisation deal provides a $130 million capital boost to Kenya’s off-grid solar energy sector and leverages Sun King’s share of the market – extending access to pay-as-you-go solar home systems and energy efficient equipment for underserved customers across the country. Approximately half of Sun King’s registered pay-as-you-go customers in Kenya are women, most of whom access formal financing products for the first time.
Providing an additional $20 million working capital facility to support Sun King, BII and Stanbic maximise the company’s capacity to deliver more high-quality affordable products to an underserved market with rising demand.
Sun King designs, distributes, installs and finances modern solar energy solutions for individuals, households and businesses who cannot access, rely on, or afford traditional electric grid connections. In Kenya, three out of every ten Kenyans live without access to electricity. The facility will allow Kenyan households and businesses to transition to clean, reliable and affordable solar energy and appliances.
Growing with early-stage funding provided by DFIs, including BII, Sun King is the world’s largest off-grid solar energy company. In 2022, the company closed a $330 million Series D equity round of funding, with participation from private equity investors General Atlantic, M&G and Leapfrog.
Over the years, as Sun King’s reach has expanded, BII and Stanbic Bank Kenya’s financing has evolved in tandem, adopting a flexible, patient, and long-term approach to lending.
Anish Thakkar, Co-Founder, Sun King said: “For many years, British International Investment and Stanbic have been invaluable partners in Sun King’s mission to equip underserved consumers with clean, renewable energy.
“Today, one in five Kenyans use Sun King products for light and power. British International Investment and Stanbic’s investment propels us forward, allowing Sun King to meet the ever-evolving energy demands of Kenyan customers and to better serve those overlooked by traditional energy systems.”
Geoffrey Manley, Head of Energy Access and Efficiency, BII, said: “Once again, we are proud to support Sun King and are delighted to participate in BII’s third funding round to the company. Alongside other investors, we reinforce our shared commitment to mobilise climate finance, boost energy access and improve the quality of life of Kenyan households.
“These complimentary commitments bring more solar home systems to those living with no or limited access to traditional energy sources – supplying energy efficient solutions while unlocking more commercial capital to advance the development of the market.”
Rentia van Tonder, Global Head of Power, Standard Bank said: “Africa is well positioned to benefit from the green economy, and we are proud to have partnered with Sun King to facilitate this landmark transaction.
“It is another demonstration of the Standard Bank Group’s ongoing commitment to drive sustainable growth in Africa’s renewable energy sector. Our clients are looking at transitioning to net zero and fast-tracking renewable energy as a key value proposition, and as such we have prioritised sustainable finance as a way to unlock growth across African economies.
“As the largest bank on the continent, we have the local knowledge and a good opportunity to play a leading role to realise the possibilities presented by Africa’s longer-term structural trends.”
The joint commitment contributes to several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Climate Action (SDG 13) Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Social Inclusion (SDG 10) and qualifies as part of BII’s contribution to the 2X Challenge.