Blockchain-based buy-to-lease solar marketplace Sun Exchange has entered into an agreement with Johannesburg-based clean energy industry focused fund manager Decentral Energy to increase its ability to host larger projects in Africa, with less risk.
Sun Exchange was launched in 2014 and last year raised funds through an initial coin offering (ICO). The business works with micro-grid developers and operators to bring utility grade solar power to future off-takers (businesses, schools and organisations) that receive electricity from a rooftop solar project powered by its platform members.
Members earn passive Bitcoin income from selling electricity.
Founder Abe Cambridge said the deal is expected to strengthen the income stream for over 900 solar cell owners, all of whom lease their solar cells to power hosted projects.
"Across the board, feedback that Sun Exchange has received from both solar cell owners and solar project off-takers is overwhelmingly positive, as both groups enjoy significant benefits. Not only do these users have the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing to the global clean energy transition and bringing clean, affordable power to schools, NGOs, wildlife parks and small businesses in South Africa, but they are also earning income leasing their solar cells which is equivalent to a 10% internal rate of return annual over the 20 year lifespan of each project. That income goes directly into their digital wallet each month which they can withdraw or use to conveniently purchase more solar cells."
Although the crypto world took a downtrend hit for the most part of 2018, Cambridge believes awareness has grown – especially over the last two years, with the market now seeing past the hype that trailed the crypto industry in 2017 and recognising what he describes as "the real-world value of blockchain".
He adds: "In 2018, our customers opted to have 73% of the total rental income from their solar cells paid in Bitcoin versus local currency. Our members who are using crypto-currency for the first time as a result of earning it through Sun Exchange get to experience how incredibly simple and easy it is to use, more so than traditional money and electronic banking."