Launched in 2015, The Sun Exchange is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects people wanting to invest in solar energy with projects. The startup raised US$60,000 in funding last year, and this year took part in the Barclays Accelerator in Cape Town.
It has now 100 per cent crowdfunded its fourth project, to power Knysna Elephant Park by solar. Every one of the necessary 13,248 solar cells has been funded, with funders able to receive rental income paid in rand or bitcoin for 20 years.
By going solar, Knysna Elephant Park will be able to put more of their financial resources towards the attractions and into animal welfare, while each solar cell will cut the park’s energy bills by 10 per cent.
Each solar cell cost ZAR95 (US$7), and gets installed and maintained for the next 20 years.
“We have now got over 30,000 solar cells operating and they are owned by our members located in 59 countries – all of whom are now getting African sunshine beamed to them in bitcoin,” The Sun Exchange founder Abraham Cambridge told Disrupt Africa.
“We love the enthusiasm our members have for The Sun Exchange. We get told daily that we’re the service they’ve been waiting for, a way to invest whilst doing good for the planet.”