renewable energy

Norfund invests in renewable energy to increase energy access and supply in developing countries.

Renewable Energy

Financial Inclusion

Scalable Enterprises

Green Infrastructure

This page is dedicated to the Renewable Energy under the Development Mandate. For information about the Climate Investment Fund under the Climate Mandate, follow this link.

Why invest in renewable energy?

Energy is essential for development. In particular, electricity underpins much of a modern economy. Without access to reliable power supply, businesses and public sector services struggle to maintain operations. Household energy use is also closely linked to welfare and people’s engagement with the society around them.

Meeting these growing energy needs through conventional thermal power supply is simply no longer an option. The climate crisis dictates that we must transition the energy sector in all countries to a renewable and carbon free future. And the opportunity is there – many developing countries have abundant renewable resources and have the opportunity to leapfrog directly to renewable technologies that are now technically and commercially viable.

Renewable, reliable and affordable energy is essential for business activity and job creation, and it is key in mitigating climate change, as scalable renewable energy solutions are needed to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy.

The journey from the planning and development of renewable energy projects to their implementation is long and complex. Therefore, patient and risk-tolerant investors, such as Norfund, are needed to ensure commercial success.

Our ambitions

In our strategy 2023-2026, our defined ambitions are:

6.5
MILLION

new households with access to electricity by end of 2026

6.5
GW

new capacity financed

What we invest in

Norfund invests in conventional renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and geothermal. Norfund invests in both utility-scale, grid-connected power plants and distributed generation. The latter includes smaller-scale projects and off-grid solutions that supply power directly to the end-user. Additionally, Norfund invests in enabling technologies that have a significant climate impact such as energy storage and transmission.

We will continue to increase Norfund’s portfolio in renewable power generation in our target markets, building on existing investment platforms and partnerships as well as working with new partners.

We will only make investments in gas-fired power plants in clearly defined and necessary projects that support the energy transition in line with the Paris Agreement. We have adopted a tool for ensuring that any new investments in gas power need to be Paris-aligned and consistent with a country’s pathway to net zero by 2050. From 2030 new investments in gas power will generally be excluded.

Business models

Large-scale renewable power generation

Norfund invests in medium to large-scale grid-connected power plants, primarily with or via industrial partnerships. These plants typically supply power under long-term contracts to utilities. Over the past decade, the costs of solar and wind power have dropped dramatically, strengthening the transition to renewable energy sources.

Commercial and industrial power solutions

Norfund invests in smaller-scale power plants that supply energy directly to commercial and industrial consumers. These plants are either located on the customer’s site (“behind the meter”) or deliver power through wheeling over the transmission system. Rooftop solar is a typical example, although larger-scale ground mounted solutions are increasingly common. As a leading investor, Norfund plays a pivotal role in this rapidly changing and challenging market.

Off-grid energy solutions

With cost reductions for solar power and batteries, off-grid power supply is an increasingly cost-effective solution for rural communities. There are two primary business models: (i) establishment of mini-grids for rural communities, and (ii) household solar products, which combine solar panels, batteries, and appliances, typically provided through a pay-go financing solution. Norfund has invested in both these business models, as well as provided loans to some of the more mature home solar products companies, and supported private credit funds providing debt financing to this segment.

Transmission

As the accelerated adoption of solar and wind energy is required to meet increasing electricity demand, significant investments in transmission infrastructure become crucial. Such investments are key to enhancing grid capacity and reliability, alleviating existing bottlenecks, and enabling the efficient integration of new renewable energy capacities. Norfund is actively engaged in this domain.

What we offer

Norfund is an active minority investor. We offer risk capital through equity, loans and funds to companies that meet our requirements.

To maximize commercial and developmental success, Norfund strives to be a value adding owner beyond the capital investments. Norfund’s investment teams have extensive experience in project development and governance and work closely with the partners to develop the companies. Norfund takes a position as an active owner and requires the right for a board seat in equity investments. With more than 25 years’ experience of investing in developing countries, Norfund continuously builds and develops the expertise needed to invest and manage risks in order to succeed as an investor.

Head of Renewable Energy department: