Solar project developer Sun Africa has hired Alex Taylor as head of export credit and structured finance and UK managing director, as the firm works to raise funding for a strong pipeline of projects.

Taylor started at Miami-headquartered Sun Africa and its affiliate company UGT Renewables last month.

He makes the move from Citi, where he held various export finance roles over the past 19 years. Most recently, he served as head of export and agency finance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea).

Prior to this, he worked in project and export finance at HSBC for the best part of a decade.

Based in London, Taylor will drive business development and deal execution at the company and will work with various entities including international banks, export credit agencies (ECAs), development finance institutions and multilateral agencies.

In the post, he will also help establish a UK office and legal entity. This will support Sun Africa and UGT’s plans to boost activity with British solar manufacturers as well as UK Export Finance (UKEF) and will ultimately serve as a hub for business development.

“We are exploring opportunities to collaborate with other ECAs around the world,” Taylor tells GTR. “We are building a UK entity and will work with UKEF as a lead agency. We will also be working hard to develop reinsurance opportunities. Certain equipment comes from Korea and we have been able to access valuable reinsurance through K-Sure.”

Sun Africa has pre-existing ties with ECAs in Europe, Asia and North America, having been involved in a bumper €560mn transaction with Sweden’s SEK and EKN four years ago.

Last year, another one of its Angola projects bagged a US$900mn loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

The plan is to deepen relationships with its ECA partners and to forge new ones, Taylor says.

“Part of the need to work with different agencies is the sheer volume of business we’re looking at. Agencies can get constrained at a certain point for a given market, so access to different pools of financing becomes important.”

While Sun Africa largely purchases panels for its large-scale projects from Korea, Taylor notes that British suppliers can be “very competitive” in other aspects of the renewables supply chain, such as transformers, cabling and steel frames.

The company provides services to African governments constructing large-scale solar facilities, including feasibility studies, sourcing subcontractors and materials, arranging financing proposals, and construction supervision.

UGT offers similar services, but is targeting growth in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Central Asia.

In his new role, Taylor will also support Sun Africa and UGT’s project development and deal origination teams.

This will involve speaking with end buyers about the benefits of switching from fossil fuels to solar and utilising ECA-backed financing.

Both Sun Africa and UGT have a healthy pipeline of solar projects on the horizon, Taylor says.

In Nigeria, the firm is developing a US$1.8bn project that promises to reduce the electricity gap by installing nearly 1GW of power and battery storage at various sites across the country.