Carol Paton Writer at Large

German Development Bank KfW on Thursday launched SA’s first debt-funded vehicle for small renewable energy projects, in a move it hopes will kick-start the ability of businesses and municipalities to produce their own electricity. The bank, which has a strong renewable energy mandate and has previously provided support to Eskom, said in a statement it would provide R350m of first-loss equity, supported by a R1bn loan fund from RMB, and hoped to raise a further R700m in the coming year from other banks keen to enter the market. Germany has witnessed a strong trend of migration from the grid by corporates, industry and local government as falling technology prices have made it viable to produce electricity for own use from solar, wind and biomass sources.

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