16 June 2017 — The Financial Times (FT) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) awarded CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) the Excellence in Climate Solutions Award for its groundbreaking work to improve the efficiency of solar asset financing across Africa. The Excellence in Climate Solutions award recognizes “a company that across all private sector categories most effectively addresses one or more of the effects of climate change in the context of a developing economy.” Specifically, the judging panel highlighted CBE’s work in “Aggregating investor capital to improve project economics by distributing costs across a portfolio of contracts,” and CBE’s pioneering role in the first industrial PPAs in Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda. CBE shared its award for Excellence in Climate Solutions with co-winner Block Island Wind Farm, and was also among seven nominees for the category of Achievement in Transformational Finance.
Jake Cusack and Tom Flahive, Co-Managing Partners at CBE, were present in London on June 8th to receive the award. “We hope that this is just the beginning and we will be able to take forward a vision of cleaner and cheaper energy for African businesses,” remarked Mr. Cusack. Live video of the awards presentation was streamed via the IFC Facebook page.
“CrossBoundary Energy is changing the trajectory of solar in Africa by offering business the option of cleaner, more affordable energy at no upfront cost," said Matt Tilleard, CrossBoundary’s Co-Managing Partner in Nairobi. “The Power Purchase Agreements available to firms in Europe and the U.S. are now accessible to African businesses, which suffer from higher energy prices and higher cost of capital.”
FT and IFC host the Transformational Business Awards each year to highlight ground-breaking, commercially viable solutions to today’s development challenges. For 2017, special attention was given to products and services that harness disruptive technologies and business models to achieve their sustainability objectives. “We wanted to shine the spotlight on companies that are doing things that are new and scalable, and ideally have started to move across countries,” said Samir Abhyankar, Partner at TPG Growth and member of the awards judging panel. “Companies nominated this year are providing greater amounts of finance to segments of the economy that so far haven’t had much access to finance; things like solar, climate, and energy.”
A total of 148 entries were received from 152 organisations involving projects in more than 84 countries.
“The superb short-lists this year reflected the catalytic impact of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals on initiatives to address climate change and alleviate poverty. It was not easy to choose a winner among such strong nominees,” said Robert Armstrong, chief editorial writer of the Financial Times and co-chair of the awards judging panel.
“The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards have evolved over the years to provide innovative solutions to pressing development challenges,'' said Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President for Blended Finance and Partnerships, IFC, and judging panel co-chair. “Most recently, the awards have focused on the central role for the private sector in meeting the SDGs, by combining capital, innovative thinking, new partnerships-creating opportunities where they are needed most in emerging markets.
About CrossBoundary Energy
CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) is Africa's first dedicated fund for commercial and industrial (C&I) solar and owner of the largest portfolio of financed C&I solar assets on the continent. Founded in 2015, it has raised over $10M in committed capital to deploy in the form of solar power purchase agreements and leases with C&I customers. CrossBoundary Energy’s portfolio includes the first commercial power purchase agreements in Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana, and its project pipeline includes commitments from leading Fortune 500 multinationals operating in Africa. CBE’s partners include SolarAfrica, the USAID Power Africa Initiative, the Shell Foundation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Blue Haven Initiative, Treehouse Investments, Ceniarth and multiple other private investors in the CrossBoundary Energy I fund. The CrossBoundary Energy team is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Managing Partner Matt Tilleard was interviewed by Chadbourne & Parke's Project Finance Newswire on Negotiating Corporate PPAs in the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Tilleard described how "we spend all our time thinking about how can we structure these contracts to address practical concerns."
CrossBoundary was featured in the UBS paper for the World Economic Forum, "Mobilizing private wealth for public good." The paper describes how CrossBoundary Energy - co-led by UBS Global Visionary Matt Tilleard - enables African enterprises to overcome the "technical risk and upfront infrastructure costs" of solar.
CrossBoundary Energy was featured in a recent Stanford publication, "The Outlook for Utility-Scale and Commercial & Industrial Solar Projects in East Africa." The paper discusses how CrossBoundary's financing for solar PPAs "[injects] critical liquidity into the new market and [allows] developers to rapidly recycle capital."
CrossBoundary Director Wilmot Allen spoke on CNBC Africa's Powering Africa Dialogue Series. He discussed the energy landscape and CrossBoundary's approach to the sector. As described by Mr. Allen, CrossBoundary Energy offers "an opportunity to complement the need and resourcing of rural electricity and solar home systems."
CrossBoundary Energy was cited as an example of "decentralized green energy efforts" working to meet Africa's energy needs. Managing Partner Matt Tilleard explains in the article that "in Kenya, 70 percent of electricity consumption is businesses...That’s our niche.”
Read the full article here
Convergence - a platform that supports blended finance deals in emerging and frontier markets - released a case study on CrossBoundary Energy. It examines USAID's innovative subordinated capital investment into the fund and reviews the SPV structure used by CrossBoundary Energy to raise project-level debt.
Managing Partner Matt Tilleard was selected to be a UBS Global Visionary - thought leaders who are at the forefront of innovation - for his work co-leading CrossBoundary Energy. In his UBS Global Visionary video, Mr. Tilleard explains how CrossBoundary Energy applies a "PPA model to encourage the adoption of solar by businesses in Africa."
Early this summer, Managing Partner Matt Tilleard was interviewed by GreenTech Media's "The Interchange" podcast, where he discussed how CrossBoundary Energy "wrote a commercially bulletproof PPA, wtructured capital, and assembled the relevant insurance" to deliver a "PPA in a Box" for commercial solar installers in Africa.
The Interchange features conversations with energy experts that go beyond the headlines to get to the center of cleantech's changing business.
Senior Associate Femi Fadugba was a panelist at the GIZ Sustainable Finance Workshop in Nairobi, where he spoke about financing opportunities for Commercial & Industrial solar in Africa.
In June, Senior Associate Femi Fadugba was a panelist at the Kenya Renewable Energy Congress briefing in Nairobi, where he spoke about opportunities for growth in Commercial & Industrial solar in East Africa.
In the Financial Times' This is Africa publication, Managing Partners Matt Tilleard and Jake Cusack discuss how micro-grids can unlock productive power and serve as the building blocks of smart grids in Africa - "leapfrogging" traditional utilities and grid systems.
In a recent article, "Renewable Energy Mini-Grids: Unlocking Africa's Rural Powerhouse," the Alliance for Rural Electrification highlighted CrossBoundary Energy as an organization that "will add to and amplify this investment potential" in the renewable energy sector.
In their article, "New funding model opens up for C&I solar in Africa," Solarplaza describes how CrossBoundary Energy's PPA-in-a-box empowers solar developers to offer renewable energy solutions to African enterprise - providing "the missing piece of the puzzle for commercial and industrial solar adoption."
CrossBoundary Energy is a finalist for the FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards' Achievement in Transformational Finance. The Awards highlight ground-breaking, long-term private sector solutions to key development issues. Fellow finalists include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, MasterCard, MicroEnsure, and the Nature Conservancy/JPMorgan Chase.