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Construction has commenced on the project that will bring power to over 87,000 people and businesses in the energy-poor country.
Cape Town, 29 January 2020: Evolution II Fund has closed an equity investment and construction bridge loan in Gigawatt Global’s 7.5 MW solar PV project in Burundi. Evolution II is managed by Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm that specializes in the clean energy sector. Evolution II holds a majority shareholding in the project.
The ground-breaking financing structure brings together a consortium of funders committed to addressing Africa’s energy gap and finding innovative solutions in under-developed markets. The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) is providing a matching construction bridge loan and subsequent subordinated loan on refinancing. The project is the first to utilize the Regional Liquidity Support Facility from the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)—previously the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)—is providing political risk insurance and has committed to refinancing the construction bridge with senior debt.
James Eedes, Head of Project Finance at Inspired Evolution, said: “This is a pioneering project in many ways, both to open up the Independent Power Production market in Burundi and to crowd in funders and credit enhancement providers to realise a complex but strategically important clean energy generation project for the country.”
EPC contractor Voltalia has started full construction on the project, which was developed by Gigawatt Global, a US-Israeli developer specialising in frontier markets. Gigawatt Global will continue to oversee the construction and operation of the plant.
The high-development impact project promises to bring power to over 87,000 people and businesses and provides 300 part-time jobs during construction with support for up to 50 permanent jobs during the operational phase. The project is also the first grid-connected solar PV development by an independent power producer (IPP) in Burundi.
Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi SA, said: “Bringing clean energy to one of the world’s least developed countries fulfils Gigawatt Global’s mission to be a premier impact platform of choice for renewables in Africa. We believe this demonstrates how solar power can be implemented in other developing markets, while decreasing dependency on costly and polluting diesel generators.”
Christopher Clarke, Managing Partner at Inspired Evolution, congratulated all parties involved in getting the project to this stage and for their part in helping to realise a high development impact solar PV generation plant in Burundi.