31 OCTOBER 2017 - 06:46 HUGH HAWARDEN
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and KfW Development Bank (KfW) recently closed the Facility for Investment in Renewable Small Transactions (FIRST), which was originally structured to enable the funding of small renewable energy projects.
The fund’s mandate has now been broadened following changes to the Department of Energy’s renewable energy commitments.
The projects fall into the Small Projects Independent Power Producers (SPIPP) programme, a renewable energy programme led by the department and aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises and new entrants to the renewable energy sector. After two rounds of bidding, the programme has a list of preferred bidders aiming to finance and build the projects.
The government formed the SPIPP to encourage smaller and new businesses to enter the burgeoning renewable energy market, rather than merely addressing South Africa’s broader energy supply mix. RMB was enthusiastic about applying innovative ideas to this initiative to help previously unbankable participants in the sector and to build local skills and job capacity.