The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with Sasfin Bank to develop a portfolio of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with South African small and medium enterprises.
The new advisory services agreement will support a $10 million line of credit provided by IFC to Sasfin earlier in the year to expand lending to projects that will help smaller businesses in South Africa become more energy efficient, sustainable and competitive.
The partnership aims to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency financial products for SME manufacturing and services firms, execute energy audits and train bank staff, according to IFC. It will also examine the energy services company marketplace in South Africa and enable Sasfin to develop energy measurement and verification protocols.
The project is co-funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and follows an earlier engagement during which the US Agency for International Development funded and assisted Sasfin develop its energy efficiency and renewable energy financing strategy in consultation with IFC.
According to the 2012 CREX study published last month, the share of renewable energy purchased voluntarily by companies in the Corporate Renewable Energy Index grew from 14 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2011, indicating corporations are increasingly shifting the focus of their sustainability strategy from energy efficiency to renewable energy. More than half of the companies in the latest index said they plan to buy more renewable energy in the future.
A report published in August by Pike Research forecasts the use of renewable distributed energy generation sources such as distributed solar photovoltaics, small wind power and stationary fuel cells to triple by 2017.