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A solar powered greenhouse (not related to the project)

Investment & Finance

Sun Exchange raises $1.4 million for Zimbabwe solar-plus-storage project

A 510 kW solar system and a 1 MWh battery storage facility will power Zimbabwe’s Nhimbe Fresh

Cape Town based solar energy micro-leasing marketplace, Sun Exchange, last week raised $1.4-million in a crowdsale for a Zimbabwe based solar energy project. The money raised will fund a 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar and battery storage facility that will power Zimbabwean agriculture company, Nhimbe Fresh. This is Sun Exchange’s largest solar installation to date, and the first outside South Africa.

Launched in 2015, Sun Exchange is 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 system will be installed by South African solar energy installation company, Sinogy.

This is our largest crowdsale and our first project outside of South Africa

Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge

“It (crowdsale completion) 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 Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge.

Nhimbe Fresh to save energy costs and reduce carbon emissions

The solar energy facility will power Nhimbe Fresh’s packhouse and a cold store facilities. The system is set to reduce the agriculture company’s energy costs by more than 60 percent per year and cut carbon emissions by more than one million kilograms per year. Nhimbe Fresh also saved $2-million on its solar installation costs through the crowd-sale route by Sun Exchange.

Nhimbe Fresh is one of the biggest fruit and tobacco producers in Zimbabwe. The solar project is part of the company’s plans to power its entire operation, including cold store and packhouse facilities, through sustainable energy.

The Nhimbe Fresh project crowd sale of solar cells attracted more than 1,700 individual buyers across 98 countries and $1.4-million. Investors will earn a monthly income stream for 20 years, with an estimated internal rate of return of 16.71%, in rand terms. This is the highest earnings potential of any solar project run through the Sun Exchange platform to date.

Solar cells will be leased to Nhimbe Fresh at a dollar-pegged fixed price to mitigate risk of fluctuations of the Zimbabwean Dollar.

Sun Exchange is looking to expand into new markets across Sub-Saharan Africa and will use its platform to finance solar energy projects to power schools, clinics, farms, cell towers, water plants, businesses and other organisations across the continent.

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