Bitcoin-Paying Solar Power Firm Plans African Growth

Jan 27, 2022 11:29 AM ET
  • Sun Exchange completed its initial project outside South Africa
  • Firm sells solar cells, which are after that rented to projects
Bitcoin-Paying Solar Power Firm Plans African Growth
Image: Sun Exchange

Sun Exchange, a South African company that crowd-sources funds for solar panels and rents them to consumers, prepares to expand to various other nations on the continent.

The firm, backed by a group part-owned by billionaire Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd., elevated $1.4 million for a photovoltaic panel and also battery-storage project at a Zimbabwean fruit as well as berry manufacturer, in what it states is the largest crowd-funded project in Africa.

Its endeavor at Nhimbe Fresh sees individuals or various other investors getting solar cells at $5 to $10 each on its platform and then renting them back. Investors are settled over two decades in either Bitcoin or rand, with about 60% electing to be paid in the cryptocurrency. The Zimbabwean project, one of 50 by Sun Exchange, was moneyed through acquisitions by 1,905 individuals in 98 nations.

The strategy allows people to make a contribution to decreasing climate-warming emissions with relatively little investments while still getting a competitive rate of return. It likewise helps fill up a chronic electricity lack in the area.

" We fill up a funding space for services and also schools and retirement community to obtain solar energy at no charge to themselves," Abraham Cambridge, co-founder and also president, claimed in an interview. "We are truly now seeking to broaden right into farming."

Sun Exchange has actually the panels set up as well as preserved. Investors in the Nhimbe Fresh project can anticipate an interior rate of return of 16.7%, according to the company. It uses Bitcoin due to the fact that "it's a practically universal legal tender," Cambridge stated.

Schools, Grocery stores

Sun Exchange's platform presently has about 35,000 investors from 180 nations. It's created a collaboration with Energea Global LLC to resource investment for the solar cells.

The firm, which built its initial project in 2016, has elevated $8.3 million to date with investors consisting of equity capital funds based upon blockchain technology

Its other projects consist of solar energy for colleges and retirement community in South Africa and also six Spar Group Ltd. grocery stores. Funds are presently being increased for 332 kilowatts of panels and 640 kilowatt hrs of battery storage at a broccoli as well as saffron farm in South Africa's Karoo semi-desert.

It's assisted set up 5.4 megawatts of generation capacity and also funding has been protected for 7 megawatts, and it now plans to broaden somewhere else in Africa.

" We are really looking at the Southern African Development Neighborhood," Cambridge claimed. "We will be looking at countries with one of the most unreliable electricity gain access to."

While South Africa is consistently beleaguered by power outages as a result of utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.'s inability to meet need, electricity supply is even more irregular in much of its neighbors.

Sun Exchange's first seed funding round of $1.5 million saw investment from Boost VC, Techstars Central LLC and also the Alphabit Fund.

3 quarters of a $4 million series A funding round came from Arch Emerging Markets Partners Ltd., a business co-founded by African Rainbow, with the African Development Bank as well as the European Investment Bank additionally investing. A sale of $2.8 million in convertible notes followed in 2021, with Arch taking $2.5 million of that.

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