South African startup Sun Exchange has completed the crowdsale for a 510 kilowatt solar-plus-storage installation to solar power packhouse and cold store facilities for Zimbabwean agriculture leader Nhimbe Fresh, with approximately US$1.4 million of solar cells purchased by over 1,700 individuals across 98 countries.
Launched in 2015, Sun Exchange is a a peer-to-peer solar leasing platform that enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy remotely-located solar cells that power schools, businesses and other organisations.
The startup has since then built a community of more than 19,000 members across 168 countries and brought solar power to 35 South African schools, businesses and organisations, and it set itself up for further growth after closing its US$4 million Series A investment round in June of last year.
Disrupt Africa reported in November it had begun its expansion across the continent with the launch of the crowdsale for the first phase of a 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar-plus-storage project for Nhimbe Fresh, which will enable the company to operate entirely on solar power.
By accessing lower-cost and reliable solar power through the Sun Exchange platform, the fresh produce grower and exporter will save approximately US$2 million on its solar installation and reduce overall energy costs by roughly 60 per cent. As the solar power is replacing coal and diesel energy sources, their carbon emissions will also now be reduced by more than one million kilogrammes per year. The first part of this process has now been completed.
“This is a proud moment for Sun Exchange, as it marks the completion of our largest crowdsale and our first project outside of South Africa. It demonstrates how individuals, empowered with innovative technology, can play a critical role in creating a more sustainable energy future by unlocking potential for clean energy in ways that traditional finance cannot,” said Abraham Cambridge, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Sun Exchange.