Sun Exchange wants to make solar power accessible to everyone. Founded in 2014, the company, based in South Africa, uses its unique setup to allow people all over the world to own and receive revenue from solar panels. Founder Abraham Cambridge calls it peer-to-peer solar leasing.
By paying with either BitCoin or South African Rand, customers can purchase a solar cell for a project sponsored by Sun Exchange. The panels are then leased out to the property, and the new owner of the solar panel cells receives a steady income based on the energy consumption. Customers are paid per kWh consumed by the electricity consumer. The panels are maintained completely by Sun Exchange, and the customer doesn’t have to provide any maintenance.
Sun Exchange has also introduced its own security token known as Sunex. Customers receive one Sunex for each solar panel cell they own as well as moving up the tiers in the company’s membership. Unlike cryptocurrencies, Sunex is tied to a physical object, so there is a bottom value to the currency. It is also easily exchangeable with cryptocurrencies for easy ways to cash in the value of Sunex.
Sun Exchange works with local construction partners to evaluate the technical and economic viability, as well as the social and environmental impact, of each project. Most of the time, communities and companies that partner with the company to house a solar farm are ones that cannot afford solar panels on their own.
The process starts with the purchasing of solar panel cells. Through a crowd sale, people all around the world can purchase solar cells and lease them to the building for 20 years. The lease begins once the project is live, with installation taking approximately two to four weeks on average. Once the lease is completed, customers retain ownership of the solar cell. They can either extend their lease or speak with Sun Exchange about other possible placements.
Sun Exchange – Providing Solar for Everyone
In 2016, Sun Exchange saw the completion of its first major project. The Stellenbosch Waldorf School in Cape Town, South Africa is now powered by solar panels owned by 62 individuals. Between them, those individuals own a total of 380950 solar panel cells. The Stellenbosch Waldorf School is just one of many buildings that the startup has provided solar panels with the support of people all around the world. Sun Exchange has also partnered with Powerhive to provide solar power to rural areas in Africa as part of its goal to provide clean energy to less affluent areas. It has even more projects in the works, waiting for buyers to lease their solar panel cells to business.
Founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge has stated, “The communities around Sun Exchange are using this platform because you can achieve environmental benefit, create a social good, and make money at the same time. It is great to see our community embracing our whole mission and what we set out to do.”