A leading climate-centric blended finance fund manager, Climate Fund Managers (CFM) –manager of renewable energy focused blended fund, Climate Investor One (CI1) announced on 19 July that CI1 achieved commercial close of a USD102-million investment in Norwegian renewable energy company Release by Scatec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scatec ASA. The investment will be used to roll out Release’s innovative solar PV and battery solutions to power utilities and mining companies across Africa, reducing energy costs, strengthening energy security, and helping decarbonise by replacing traditional diesel and heavy fuel oil or coal fired generation solutions.

Release utilises unique equipment, installing pre-assembled, modular, scalable and re-deployable solar power plants and battery energy storage systems. Designed to help customers in emerging markets overcome the financial and technical barriers associated with adopting solar technology, the system is quick to install, cost-effective and flexible with lease agreements available on a short or long-term basis.

At the core of Release is its flexible leasing model – a model designed to offer a viable clean energy alternative in even the most challenging-to-electrify places in Africa. The solution has been designed for mining and utilities companies with lower power needs of 1-30MW. At this end of the spectrum, companies have to rely on diesel-powered generators with a negative climate impact. According to Release, the company’s innovative technology enables clean energy to be delivered in six to nine months from initial discussions – rather than the three to five years of a traditional IPP. As it is modular, customers can gradually increase their power needs from 5MWp up to 30/50MWp as required.

Currently, Release has projects in operation and under construction in Cameroon, South Africa, Mexico, and South Sudan with a total capacity of 47MW solar PV and 20MWh of battery storage and has signed additional contracts for 35MW solar PV and 20MWh of storage in Chad.

Image credit: Pexels | Kindel Media

Image credit: Pexels | Kindel Media

Andrew Johnstone, CEO of CFM said: “CFM’s purpose is to help end the climate crisis. We do this by raising and deploying cutting-edge blended finance funds at scale and at pace. Our blended finance model facilitated the integration of impact finance into the deal structure, which Release will be able to leverage to improve its cost structure for its battery and grid connection solutions, allowing Release to offer even more competitive pricing and better value to its clients. We are delighted to support the Release team as they roll out their critical climate technology across Africa, helping significantly reduce the emissions of the mining and utility sectors.”

 

Hans Olav Kvalvaag, CEO of Release said: “One of the greatest barriers to adopting solar technology is its capital-intensive nature. Release helps our customers overcome this by providing a flexible and affordable model. Our solar PV and battery solution is competitively priced when compared to diesel generators or other traditional grid-stabilisation measures. We look forward to working with CFM as we increase our capacity and scale our cost-effective solar PV solution across Africa.”

“We are very excited to have CFM join us as a partner to accelerate the significant growth potential of the Release platform. Release is offering a unique renewable energy solution in a rapidly growing market segment that requires a different business model than Scatec’s larger scale project business. Today’s transaction establishes Release as a strong and independent company while Scatec remains the main shareholder and offers services to support Release and drive synergies in the next phase of the company’s development,” says Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog, who is also the chair of Release.