SA P2P solar leasing startup Sun Exchange raises $3m for African expansion

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South African peer-to-peer solar leasing platform has secured a US$3 million investment as part of its Series A round that will be used to scale its solution and expand into new markets across Africa.

Launched in 2015, Sun Exchange enables almost anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy remotely-located solar cells that power schools, businesses and other organisations.

So far the startup has built a community of more than 17,000 members across approximately 160 countries and brought solar power to 24 South African schools, businesses and organisations.

Sun Exchange has been raising its Series A for a while, securing funding from various sources over the last 18 months or so, including an Uprise Africa crowdfunding campaign that secured some capital but ultimately saw the startup return all funds to investors after regulatory delays. 

However, it has now closed out a US$4 million round with the US$3 million investment by the Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF), a Mauritian private equity fund advised by London-based ARCH Emerging Markets Partners.

Sun Exchange will use the funds to scale its solution and expand into new markets across Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as bolster marketing to grow its global user base and make significant software enhancements.

“Sun Exchange is positioned to emerge as an enabling force in the imminent global energy and economic transformation, with a first-of-a-kind platform that harnesses the power of a united global community to unlock the potential of distributed solar power in emerging markets,” said William Barry, managing director of ARCH. 

“ARCH is thrilled to partner with Sun Exchange on this journey to expand the success the company has already seen in South Africa throughout ARPF’s target markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Abe Cambridge, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sun Exchange, said there had never been a more critical time to accelerate the company’s mission of connecting the world to the sun, as socio-economic and energy systems across the world are “on the brink of being reset and redefined”. 

“This milestone unlocks the next phase of growth for Sun Exchange, which includes building our team, creating several new, sustainable, clean energy jobs, and providing our growing user base the opportunity to further diversify their solar cell portfolios across new regions and industries. With our shared passion for driving renewable energy proliferation and sustainability across Africa, ARCH is the perfect partner for Sun Exchange as we scale,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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