SolarAid and SunFunder Launch New Crowdfunding Project to Finance Solar Lighting in Zambia

by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX) Sep 25, 2012

SolarAid and SunFunder will launch an innovative financing partnership to bring solar power to over 20,000 people in Eastern Zambia.

SunFunder is providing up to $50,000 in loans to SolarAid through its social enterprise SunnyMoney, in 2012. The first loan, for $10,000, will finance the purchase of 781 solar-powered lights.

These lights will be sold to Zambian families who currently live without power. The money for this loan will be raised through SunFunder’s crowdfunding platform, which allows anyone to invest money into the project in amounts starting at $25.

Richard Turner, Director of Fundraising for SolarAid is excited about the potential.

“Families in Africa are prepared to buy solar lights to replace kerosene and candles. These brilliant little lights can transform the lives of a family by reducing the amount they spend on kerosene, and providing a safe clean light to use.

“We just need the capital to buy these magical lights and get them to remote areas. Sunfunder can help make that happen and we are delighted to be partnering with this amazing initiative”.

SolarAid owns SunnyMoney the brand and company which works to build trust in solar products in Africa to help create a market for solar lights. This market approach is more sustainable than aid.

SunFunder is a new platform for anyone to invest in high-impact solar projects, unlocking access to clean, affordable energy around the world. SunFunder solves the biggest problem facing solar businesses working to deploy affordable solar technology in off-grid markets: access to financing.

SunFunder, which specializes in off-grid markets where power is most needed, unlocks a significant new source of capital for solar: individual investors who will be able to place money into high-quality, vetted projects.

“This partnership has the potential to make clean affordable solar energy a reality where it is needed the most,” said Ryan Levinson, CEO and founder of SunFunder.

Investors who place money into a project are repaid over a period of six months to two years, earning back their principal plus interest-based “Impact Points” that can be used to reinvest in new projects. Investors are also able to track their project’s performance and impact.

The project that launches with SolarAid will provide solar-powered lights to families in the Chadiza district of Eastern Zambia using distribution through local schools.

Working through schools allows SolarAid to overcome the trust barrier typically faced when introducing a new technology such as solar lights. All of the target schools in the Chadiza zone of the Eastern Province are remote and not connected to the electric grid, instead relying on kerosene lanterns and candles for light.

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