523 kW Rooftop Solar for Mattress Manufacturer – 3 Plants across UAE
Our partner has signed a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the customer for the deployment, commissioning and management of an aggregated 523 kW rooftop solar projects spread across 3 of its facilities in UAE. As a result, this customer will not only reduce their carbon footprint significantly but also realize greater savings on their electricity bill.
Length of Loan
Equivalent to this number of houses powered by solar every year
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration- 2019 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the average U.S. household consumes about 10,649 kilowatthours (kWh) per year.
Equivalent to this number of gasoline cars off the road every year
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2020), average greenhouse gas emissions per passenger vehicle is 4.60 metric tons CO2 per year.
Number of Trees Planted
Equivalent emissions offset of trees planted
According to Green Mountain Energy (based on U.S. Department of Energy’s method for calculating carbon sequestration by trees), a typical tree takes in 8,397 lbs CO2 over its lifetime.
The Mattress or Sleeping Products Manufacturer is a Dubai-based, UAE headquartered multinational company which manufactures and distributes sleeping products to 17 countries in two continents. The customer has been in business since 1974 and has a strong commitment towards achieving sustainable growth and continual development. The customer is paying a premium rate on their electricity bill and has a strong incentive to reduce its overhead costs.
As per the current solar regulations, two out of three of the locations where the solar plants are proposed to be installed are eligible for net metering whereby any excess electricity generated from the solar plant that goes unused can be banked with the electricity grid and credited at a later stage. As part of the Power Purchase Agreement signed, the partner will be commissioning and managing the 523 kW rooftop solar projects. Customer can expect savings upwards of 24% per unit of electricity generated.
The partner will repay the loan within 5 years through cash flow generated from the sale of solar power to the Sleeping Products Manufacturer.
Repayment Schedule: Monthly
Disbursement Date: Within 48 hours of your loan being received
Funding Model: Loan
Partner Covers Currency Risk? Yes
Field Partner: Distributed Energy
Is Borrower Paying Interest: Yes, 7.5%
How do we generate a 6% return from solar plants?
In emerging markets, the upfront cost of a solar plant is anywhere between $500 – $800 per kilowatt of panels installed. This includes equipment including solar panels, inverters, cables, installation frames, etc and skilled labor.
For organizations who need sizeable solar plants, this cost can be unreachable. It means capital expenditure (cash) is redirected from other core operations of their organization.
We help organizations spread the cost of their solar plant between 5 to 20 years. So instead of paying for the solar plant upfront, they pay a per kWHr (unit of electricity) rate over time. We model the cost of maintenance and the interest rate in this repayment plan to make it attractive for investors. Our partners collect this money from the organization and pay us. This is how we generate a 6% return from these plants.
What happens when I Auto-Lend money in renewables.org?
Auto-Lend means we allocate your money to the opportunity with the most impact today. This will be a loan for a solar plant in Asia or Africa. The loan may be for a new project or to enhance an existing project. The money is manually allocated and may take up to 48 hours to be visible in your dashboard. Your money will start generating 6% APY from the moment it is allocated. Repayments are made in equal monthly installments. So for a loan of $1,000, you will be repaid $19.33 per month for 60 months. This includes part principal and part interest amount. You can view our repayment schedule here.
How do you guarantee the first $100 for the first 1,000 users?
We are backed by good samaritans – organizations that have the same goals as us – to speed up renewable energy deployment. As a result, the first $100 invested by the first 1,000 people is guaranteed.
What is a Power Purchase Agreement?
A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a contract between two parties: the Power Producer and the Energy Customer. The Power Producer generates electricity and the Energy Customer purchases electricity. PPAs are long-term electricity supply agreements that define conditions such as amount of electricity to be supplied, electricity price per kWHr (unit of electricity) and terms under which an agreement may be terminated. This is a widely accepted mechanism for selling power around the world.
Most of our funding arrangements are backed by PPAs and asset -backed by the installed solar panels and equipment.
Why focus on emerging markets?
The path to net-zero emissions involves access to clean energy for everyone. There are hundreds of thousands of organizations in Asia and Africa. These companies can do good for the environment and save money at the same time. Unfortunately, access to capital in emerging markets is not equal. And the cost of capital can be out of reach for these organizations.
renewables.org solves these problems by curating partners in Asia and Africa, and the Middle East. Our partners sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with organizations that need clean energy. Then, renewables.org connects these partners with your funding. Our goal is to make renewable energy access a reality for everyone, independent of where they are and what their need is.
What is the historical performance of solar as an asset class?
Data on the Internal Rates of Return (IRRs) of various projects are not easily found, as investors rarely disclose such information. But secondary data suggest that the IRR for renewable energy projects is about 8-9%, with an initial dividend yield of about 6% and positive real dividend growth (IEEFA, 2017; Edwardson, 2019; Tweed, 2016).
Returns depend on many factors, such as:
1) how the investment is made (via equity, debt, direct project investment, fund investments, etc.);
2) risks linked to the location and size of the project (political, economic, currency, regulatory);
3) the cost of capital;
4) the quality of legal documentation; and
5) the credibility of the buyer and project size.
Projects in emerging markets usually bring higher returns than projects in developed markets owing to their higher risks and lower competition. Based on data from the Mercatus’ platform of more than 80 GW of renewable energy projects, the average return (expressed as unleveraged IRR) on solar projects is 10.4% in the Middle East, 10.3% in Africa and 8.4% in Asia.
Separately, Moody’s 2021 and 2018 reports state that the project finance bank loans identifies ten-year cumulative default rates as lowest for green use-of-proceeds projects in the power industry sector (5.7%). Non-OECD non-high income countries (our target market) have a default rate of 5-7% on average in these sectors.
 Data from International Renewable Agency Report 2020 here (link https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2020/Nov/IRENA_Mobilising_institutional_capital_2020.pdf)
 Moody’s (link: https://www.moodys.com/) Infrastructure and Investment Finance Report 2021 and 2018 for Investors.
Are there minimums to loan and withdraw?
At this stage, there is a minimum of $25 to invest and no minimum to withdraw. You can withdraw or redeploy your repaid (returns) amount anytime.
What is the length of the loan?
The length of a loan is indicated for each project. Currently, the average loan length is 5 years.
How do you manage and minimize risk?
We manage risks the following ways: 1. We work with partners who are on the ground in our focus markets, with a track record of installing and managing solar plants;
2. We carry out extensive due diligence on the opportunities that our partners bring. We evaluate the viability of the agreements as well as the customer;
3. We oversee the project execution to ensure high quality design and usage of industry-approved materials; and
4. We require our partners to insure all the assets against calamities, theft, fire, etc. This is in addition to pre-existing warranties on solar panels and inverters.
Why fund solar as opposed to other renewable energy?
As a business, solar power is a tried and tested source of electricity that has seen tremendous growth over the last decade, not only from a technological innovation standpoint, but also from an investment standpoint. With solar panel prices being at an all-time low, the cost of solar energy spread over time (also known as levelized cost of energy) is now lower than grid tariff in most markets.
Also, solar plants, compared to other renewable energy sources of electricity, have higher viability in smaller sizes (in dollar terms). This allows us to offer loans against solar plants that can be repaid in a sustainable manner. We currently focus on projects ranging from 100kW to 10MW for organizations in emerging markets.
What is the likelihood of defaults on repayments?
All our partners and their end customers undergo detailed due diligence. We carefully evaluate all technical and financial details. And each customer must provide guarantee or a cash deposit for at least 3 months of their electricity bill. In addition, the Power Purchase Agreement with the end customer has suitable clauses aimed at mitigating defaults. Despite all of this, if the customer defaults or becomes insolvent, our partner can move the solar plant to a new customer at 10-15% of the project value. We also aggregate our projects at a partner level to spread the risk of defaults across multiple projects. Our aim is to return your money even after a default. However, your loan amount cannot be guaranteed from a customer or a partner defaulting. Our $100 guarantee for the first 1,000 investors is independent of these defaults. That will guarantee your money, regardless of customer or partner defaults.
Are emerging markets risky?
Our primary mandate is to deploy capital in emerging markets, such as Africa and Asia. Each region has its unique set of challenges and opportunities. These regions have ambitious renewable energy targets and policies aimed at fast-tracking the deployment of solar power. We have a range of mechanisms backed by a financial team with decades of experience working across emerging markets. Furthermore, we partner with local vendors (that meet our pre-qualification criteria) that have a detailed understanding of the on-the-ground reality. We take a number of steps to mitigate as many risks as possible to protect your loan amount.
Is there any currency risk?
All transactions carry a currency risk. Given the lower interest rates we offer our partners for loans, they confidently sign agreements with us to undertake the currency risk. That means when we offer a loan to a partner, we do so in USD and expect the repayments in USD. We also guide them in hedging the currency risk through banks where possible.
How long has this business been operational?
We began this business in September 2019. Our first solar plant was commissioned (as a proof of concept before the business began) in early 2019. All the plants we have invested in up until now continue to supply renewable power for our customers and generate returns for our investors. Our leadership team has 75+ years of combined experience running businesses in emerging markets. We also have experience in building large energy, microfinance, marketing and technology businesses before launching renewables.org.
Why do we not provide the names of organizations we have deployed solar for?
On a few occasions in the past, solar vendors and investors have reached out to organizations listed on our site. To avoid this unsolicited contact and protect the privacy of our customers, we no longer publicize this information.
Rest assured, we are in direct contact with these organizations and carry out a thorough technical and financial evaluation before listing their project. If you would like more information on any of our projects, you can email us using the contact form.
Will you provide 1099-INT for my investment? (US only)
In general, there is a de minimis threshold of $10 per tax year. In other words, we have to complete/submit a form 1099-INT for/to each investor who lends to us and we pay more than $10 in interest to that investor per tax year.
- Partner submitted the proposal on Jul. 23, 2021
- Customer accepted the proposal on Aug. 10, 2021
- Agreements signed on Aug. 23, 2021
100% of your loans go to a solar plant
We select projects through our on-ground partners. Our team regularly evaluates these funding opportunities technically and financially.