Church Pension Fund Infuses $17 Million to Promote Solar Energy in South Asia

The Church Pension Fund (CPF) has invested $17 million (~₹1.07 billion) to provide financing to organizations that promote green energy initiatives.

CPF is a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church of the U.S.

The funding will be used to provide loans to microfinance institutions, distribution companies, and manufacturers in the off-grid solar sector located in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

$17 million (~₹1.07 billion) has been invested in the Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA) Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund I.

“This investment will enable customers of solar energy to lease on an affordable installment basis and will impact the lives of more than 1 million people while reducing carbon dioxide by 4 million tons,” said Asad Mahmood, the CEO of SIMA in a media release.

CPF’s Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) focuses on investments that offer attractive risk-adjusted returns and have a positive social impact. CPF currently has approximately $1 billion (~₹63.32 billion) of invested or committed capital in socially responsible investments in as many as 25 countries.

Roger Sayler, the executive vice president of CPF, said, “This investment represents our second investment focused on the off-grid solar sector as market conditions in this space remain extremely strong. It offers us the opportunity to provide funding for much-needed financing while also earning a competitive rate of return.”

In October 2017, Mercom reported that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a total of $6.3 million (~₹398.92 million) to strengthen the off-grid energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to a report by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and Lighting Global, 52 million off-grid solar product sales were reported in the first half of 2017. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for approximately 1.77 million (50 percent) and 1.16 million (33 percent) of the total reported sales, respectively, with India remaining the highest volume sales market globally.

Image credit: M-Kopa Solar