The Sun Exchange, a South African start-up using blockchain technology to democratize solar power, has secured $1.6 million (R21.8 million) from various investors based in South Africa and the US.
The new investors include Network Society Ventures (New York City), Kalon Venture Partners (Johannesburg) and three of the world’s leading technology accelerators, BoostVC (San Francisco Bay Area), Techstars (Colorado) and Powerhouse (California).
“This will boost our capacity to meet the demand for our pipeline of commercial-scale solar power projects, located in the sunniest regions of the planet,” Abraham Cambridge, the CEO of The Sun Exchange, wrote in the company’s blog.
The Sun Exchange has been leading in the African energy market since 2014, and has now expanded globally with a United States headquarters in California and a regional operating office in Dubai.
“We are the first marketplace of our kind, combining sharing economy principles with blockchain technology to democratize solar power,” wrote Cambridge.
The Sun Exchange allows individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects that are mostly situated in emerging markets, in solar-rich but power-poor regions.
“This makes solar panel ownership accessible to retail and institutional investors worldwide, while giving businesses and communities in emerging markets access to fully-funded solar power plants to reduce running costs and drive sustainable development,” he explained.
The Sun Exchange is a marketplace where you can purchase solar cells and have them power businesses and communities in the sunniest locations on earth. You lease your solar cells purchased through The Sun Exchange to hospitals, factories, schools, and other end-users, earning you decades of solar powered rental income wherever you are in the world.
The Sun Exchange hosts what we call a ‘crowd-sale’ of solar cells. It works a bit like crowd-funding in that the project will only go ahead once all the solar cells have been sold.
The single solar cell sells solar panels, reducing the cost of solar plant ownership to below $10.
Sun Exchange leverages blockchain and Bitcoin to increase transparency and reduce the costs of the cross-border transactions, both problems that inhibit the majority of commercial solar projects from accessing traditional funding options.