British International Investment

Frontier Energy II Delta K/S

West AfricaInfrastructure

Planet Solar is a 50MW solar PV project in Sierra Leone and the country’s first large-scale grid-connected solar Independent Power Producer (IPP), developed by Frontier Energy and Planet One

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Partnering with FMO and Proparco, we committed $25 million to Planet Solar, alongside DI Frontier Fund II, bringing the total equity investment into the project to $52 million. The project aims to stimulate investment in renewable energy, responding to the urgent need for access to clean, affordable, and stable power in Sierra Leone.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact
  • Improve access to reliable, clean and affordable energy services (SDG 7).

  • Enable economic growth and productive employment (SDG 8).

  • Avoid greenhouse gas emissions to support climate change mitigation (SDG 13).

How?

Primary Secondary

Fund the addition of 15 megawatts of solar generation capacity to increase the supply and reliability of renewable electricity for grid-connected public institutions, residential, and commercial consumers. In turn, this will enable increased productivity, output and employment. Avoid greenhouse gas emissions by reducing reliance on fossil fuel generation plants.

This is the first large-scale solar independent power producer (IPP) in Sierra Leone. If successful, the project could have a market catalysing impact by improving the enabling environment and creating additional track record for the IPP model in the country. This could facilitate subsequent projects and reduce uncertainty and perceived risk among private sector investors.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Consumers

Sierra Leone

Urban households concentrated in Freetown and Western Area.

Employees

Sierra Leone

Employees of firms in Freetown and Western Area likely concentrated in manufacturing and retail trade.

Planet

Global

N/A

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

Up to 178,000 households, around 325 health facilities and around 1,580 schools are connected to grids owned and operated by the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority.

Depth: Depth of impact on productivity expected to be modest due to the intermittency of solar PV technology, which limits the project’s impact on increasing reliability of supply. Depth of impact on sustainability is around 12,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided per year.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality

Financial additionality: Our contribution is driven by financial additionality as equity capital from commercial financial investors is not available for power infrastructure projects in Sierra Leone. DFI capital is required to finance utility-scale power projects in the country given elevated country, off-taker and execution risks, which exceed appetite for most impact-focussed private sector investors.

Risk

External Risk

Transmission and distribution network may be unable to deliver all power generated by the project to customers due to dilapidated lines and poor maintenance (current technical and commercial losses at around 38 per cent). Partly mitigated by World Bank funded project to carry out simultaneous transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades.

External Risk

Insufficient available baseload capacity would challenge the integration of further intermittent renewable energy capacity into the grid. Partially mitigated by the Côte d'Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea interconnector, enabling importing of baseload power from Côte d'Ivoire to supplement domestic supply.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We partnered with our fund manager to co-invest in this company, including the environmental and social (E&S) due diligence and a joint ESAP. The ESAP plan focuses on additional E&S capacity, development and implementation of an appropriate E&S management system with a focus on community engagement, labour and working conditions and supply-chain management.

Environmental and social risk

High

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    First published

    When the investment was first published on the website database.

    :
    March 2024
    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D5698
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    West Africa
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Infrastructure

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Equity
    Start date :
    October 2023
    Amount :
    $10.4m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Denmark
    Climate finance

    Indicates whether the investment is climate finance qualified or partially climate finance qualified and the type of climate finance (adaptation, mitigation or both). We define climate finance using the multilateral development bank (MDB) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) Common Principles climate finance methodology. See Common Principles for Climate Mitigation Finance Tracking and Common Principles for Climate Change Adaptation Finance Tracking. We provide the climate finance qualification and type for commitments from 2020 onwards, which is when we launched our Climate Change Strategy.

    :
    Fully qualified
    Climate finance type:
    Mitigation

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