A South African crowdfunding start-up which claims to offer small investors the chance to buy individual solar cells in s has reportedly raised $3 million from billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital, via its stake in British private equity firm Arch Emerging Markets Partners.
A Reuters report about the fundraising round states The Sun Exchange has raised backing of $4m since it was founded.
The company’s website states companies which want to deploy solar are assessed by The Sun Exchange’s solar engineers for economic and technical feasibility as well as “social and environmental responsibility.” Once accepted, projects are offered up to investors who can commit as little as ZAR50 ($3) per cell on a buy-to-lease basis with the business paying for the solar power generated and investors taking a monthly return minus insurance and servicing fees. Payments are made in a local currency or Bitcoin.
For example, the website is currently offering ZAR81 cells as part of a planned 472.68 kW array at the Boland Wine Cellar in Paarl. With each cell expected to generate 8.253kWh during the first year of operation, returns of ZAR266.70 are estimated over the system’s 20-year lease for an estimated internal rate of return of 12.48%.
Sun Exchange CEO Abraham Cambridge describes the investment platform, on the company website, as “an entirely new economic paradigm – silicon-based clean energy systems with positive feedback loops to create economies of abundance.” He adds, the company “streams monetized sunshine around the world …. in Bitcoin.”
The chief executive says his company is “converting photons to electrons to crypto in a constant stream” that is “spread around the world from African sunshine.”