There are over 600 million Africans living without electricity despite an abundance of sunshine and hundreds of thousands of solar projects on the drawing board.
Now, Sun Exchange, a South Africa-based startup, has developed a solution to Africa’s solar electrification dilemma centered on the intersection of three fast-growing technologies: blockchain, crowd-sourcing and solar photovoltaics. Sun Exchange has combined and synergized these technologies seamlessly on its online platform, enabling people around the world to purchase solar panels that are then leased into projects in Africa to passively collect bitcoin from the leasing of the solar cells that provide clean and affordable electricity at no upfront cost to businesses and communities.
“I believe being able to harness energy from our star to be a basic human right,” said Abe Cambridge, Sun Exchange’s founder and CEO. “The Sun Exchange provides the tools for anyone on Earth to exercise that right. We are turning sunlight into a universal source of income. While most solar investment opportunities require a large minimum investment, with Sun Exchange you can buy into a solar project with increments of just $10 in bitcoin equivalent to start, and then increase the number of solar cells you own substantially over time if you like the platform and are happy with the returns.”
Ushering in an Era of Solar-Powered Money
Sun Exchange manages solar panel owners’ leases and the installation of the solar panels purchased through its platform onto the rooftops of either businesses or even whole community-scale rural micro-grids. As electricity from the solar panels is generated, used and paid for, bitcoin is deposited into the Sun Exchange user’s account as a continuous cryptocurrency income stream that the user can expect to enjoy for a couple of decades.
“The Sun Exchange started in 2015 as an Indiegogo project, and has since raised $1.6 million in seed money,” Cambridge explained. “We now have over 6,000 Sun Exchange members in 91 countries. Five solar plants are now being powered by our members’ solar