Opportunities in the solar energy sector in Southern Africa are shining brighter than ever as companies increasingly turn to a greener energy alternative. For Sedgeley Solar Energy Namibia (“Sedgeley Energy”), a recent investment by private equity firm RMB Corvest will enable the company to capitalise further on these opportunities.

Sedgeley Energy is the exclusive engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) provider to the SolarSaver Group (“SolarSaver”), and has installed in excess of 400 individual solar PV systems across Namibia, South Africa and Botswana in that role. The SolarSaver portfolio now represents the largest fleet of commercial and industrial solar installations in Southern Africa.

Sedgeley Energy was founded six years ago with a view to offering clients unique solar solutions and the company has enjoyed continued growth since its inception. SolarSaver was established to fund the solar systems constructed by Sedgeley Energy via long-term power purchase or rent-to-own agreements. Sedgeley Energy also provides all the ongoing operational and maintenance (“O&M”) functions to the SolarSaver portfolio to ensure those systems run efficiently at all times.

SolarSaver clients then benefit from a CAPEX- and maintenance-free solution that provides a cheaper and greener alternative to the grid electricity supply.

Co-founder of Sedgeley Energy and SolarSaver, Tim Frankish, says that as regional utilities struggle with supply and maintenance challenges, more Southern African businesses can benefit from SolarSaver’s “rent the sun” energy solutions.

According to news agency Reuters, the first five months of this year alone saw South Africa import solar PV panels worth nearly 2.2 billion rand. Analysts suggest that this amounts to over 500 megawatts of peak generating capacity. So far this year, Eskom has implemented 91 days of load-shedding, with further load-shedding anticipated for the coming summer months.

Frankish says, “SolarSaver has been ahead of the curve in terms of our innovative product offering. As the cost of grid electricity continues to rise, as the regional power grid’s instability increases, and as the calls for businesses to implement renewable energy solutions from a governance perspective grow, we are extremely well placed to respond to market demand. The introduction of RMB Corvest will position Sedgeley Energy to continue growing the SolarSaver portfolio and to keep servicing that portfolio for the long-term.”

Bravura was able to identify private equity fund RMB Corvest as a strongly aligned investment partner.

Brendan Wiebols, Executive at RMB Corvest, says that Sedgeley Energy’s innovative offering, track record and growth potential were key considerations for their investment. “Our strategy is to partner with management in formalising a strategy that will see the company achieving its growth potential, and to improve operational efficiencies that embed a solid corporate structure. Sedgeley Energy’s positioning in the rooftop solar space through its innovative and needs-driven solution made it a compelling investment prospect.”

Michael Jacobs, a senior investment manager at Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (“PRIF”), one of the key shareholders in SolarSaver, believes that their investment in the group is well placed given PRIF’s market position as one of the leading infrastructure investors on the continent, with a strong environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) focus. “SolarSaver helps meet the growing need for robust energy infrastructure on the continent through a sustainable and renewable solution,” says Jacobs. Alongside PRIF, SolarSaver is supported by Stimulus Investments Limited, Moshesh Partners Renewable Energy and Clean Infrastructure Fund I, and Leapserve Renewable Investments as equity partners.

Llewellyn Gerber, the corporate finance principal at Bravura who facilitated the transaction, says that it was apparent at the outset that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship. “For our client, Sedgeley Energy, RMB Corvest represents a like-minded partner with a highly developed network. While the monetary consideration is always significant, is it also crucial to look towards additional synergies when finding the right partner. Merger and acquisition (“M&A”) is one of the areas where Bravura has developed strong capabilities. We are extremely pleased to have played an enabling role in this exciting transaction,” concludes Gerber.