The Next Steps in Scaling Finance for Energy Access: Syndicating Deals between Multiple Lenders (Webinar)

18 April 2017

This no-cost webinar, jointly hosted by the Clean Energy Solutions Center and the UN Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, in collaboration with SunFunder, highlighted the role of syndicated lending for scaling finance for energy access.

A syndicated loan is debt finance offered by a group of lenders—referred to as a syndicate—that work together to provide funds for a single borrower. Global syndicated lending amounts to trillions of dollars per year but has yet to benefit the relatively new but rapidly growing market for distributed energy solutions.

The webinar examined the practical steps needed to launch a new generation of syndicated transactions and crowd in new investors to the decentralized energy sector. The webinar is the first in the Practitioner Network’s new finance-focused webinar series, which will examine the financing challenges and solutions at the cutting edge of energy access investing.

  • Jem Porcaro, Senior Director of Energy Access at UN Foundation, will introduce the topic and provide context to the broader financing webinar series.
  • David Battley, Director of Structured Finance at SunFunder, will provide an overview of the steps involved in loan syndication and detail the opportunities in the sector.
  • Willem Nolens, Managing Director at SolarNow, will give a company perspective on preparing for syndicated lending.

Following the speakers, there will be a moderated conversation among the experts, followed by an opportunity for in-depth discussion with attendees on specific questions around getting syndicated lending off the ground in the energy access sector.


Jem Porcaro

Jem Porcaro is the Senior Director of Energy Access at the UN Foundation, where he is responsible for providing leadership, management and project support to the UN Foundation’s energy access work, with a particular focus on its involvement in the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) initiative. Jem has more than ten years of experience in international energy development. Immediately prior to joining the UN Foundation, Jem worked with Nexant and earlier in his career, he worked with UNDP on energy access issues in their global energy practice. Jem received his Master of International Affairs with a concentration in International Energy Policy and Management from Columbia University, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tufts University.

Willem NolensWillem Nolens

Willem has been a social entrepreneur for almost 20 years, with a focus on microfinance and renewable energy in Africa. He co-founded and managed several banks in the ProCredit network in Africa, and later he co-founded and managed Catalyst Microfinance Investors, a $125 million equity fund investing in the internationalization of ASA Bangladesh. In 2009, he switched his focus to renewable energy, by transforming the award-winning Rural Energy Foundation into SolarNow. He has been the CEO since inception. SolarNow provides real electricity solutions for the entrepreneurial class. The company now has 48 branches in Uganda and Kenya, employing 470 staff. With revenues exceeding USD 500,000 per month, the company is one of the first solar distribution and finance companies in the world to reach break-even.

David BattleyDavid Battley

David spent almost a decade working in corporate debt origination in London and a further five years working with both the charity SolarAid and its social enterprise arm SunnyMoney as part of the senior management team. David joined the Sunfunder team in August 2015. He has lived in sub-Saharan Africa since 2014 with his wife and son. David graduated with M/Chem (Oxon) Hons from Balliol College, Oxford University in 2001