Sun Exchange, Expands Bitcoin-paying Solar Project in South Africa

South African firm, Sun Exchange, uncovered plans to expand its focus to reach various African countries in an ambitious project of crowd-sourced funding of solar panels and leasing them to customers.

Supported by African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd. – a group part-owned by billionaire Patrice Motsepe – Sun Exchange managed to raise $1.4 million funding for what could be Africa’s most promising crowd-funded project.

The project is for a solar panel and battery storage project at a fruit and berry producer in Zimbabwe.

The venture at agricultural fresh exports company Nhimbe Fresh Exports (Private Ltd.) will allow interested parties and other investors to obtain solar cells at a price ranging between $5 to $10 for each solar panel on its platform before leasing them back.

In this case, 60 percent of investors are vouching for repayment in cryptocurrency, to be repaid over 20 years in either Bitcoin or rand. The project is one of Sun Exchange’s 50 projects and was funded “through purchases by 1,905 individuals in almost 100 countries.

The South African company’s tactics will play a vital role in filling a detrimental electricity shortage in the continent and enable individuals to contribute to minimizing the intensity of climate-warming emissions with modest investments, all while obtaining a competitive rate in return.

“We fill a funding gap for businesses and schools and retirement homes to get solar-powered at no cost to themselves,” co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sun Exchange, Abraham Cambridge, said in an interview.

“We are looking to expand into agriculture,” he added.

According to the company, investors in the Nhimbe Fresh project could anticipate a 16.7 percent external rate of return, given it will use Bitcoin as “an almost universal medium of exchange,” according to Cambridge.

The South African solar power company currently has around 35,000 investors from almost 180 countries and recently formed a strong partnership with renewable energy investment company Energea Global LLC to attract funding for the solar cells project.

In 2016, the company raised $8.3 million with various investors following the project’s initial establishment, including blockchain-based capital funds.

Some of the company’s other sustainability projects include providing solar power for retirement homes and schools in the South African region and six Spar Group Ltd. supermarkets.

“We are really looking at the Southern African Development Community,” the CEO stated. “We will be looking at countries with the most unreliable electricity access.”

Boost VC, Techstars Central LLC, and Alphabit Fund were some of the biggest names to pump investment into Sun Exchange’s project, raising $1.5 million in an initial seed funding round.