The Sun Exchange: Bitcoin is the answer to Africa’s solar finance headaches

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Credit: The Sun Exchange, used with permission.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can overcome Africa’s relative lack of financial infrastructure and unlock its solar potential, according to the CEO and founder of The Sun Exchange.

The low cost of cryptocurrency transactions allow the company to sell and then lease on a cell rather than a module basis. Investors can be anywhere in the world and currency risk is negated.

“It enables borderless solar ownership,” Abe Cambridge, CEO and founder told PV Tech. “Anyone can own solar panels located in the sunniest place on Earth, lease them to a commercial project and earn an income from it. The concept that the only way to own solar panels is to buy them and install on your own roof is about as sophisticated as making a telephone call with two cups and a piece of string. We now have technology that makes that physical connection redundant.

“Getting low cost clean energy to Africa is an imperative not just for Africa’s development but the world’s sustainability. So what’s the barrier, why is Africa not going solar? We have the technology, the skills and the desire? What’s missing is the financial infrastructure,” added Cambridge.

The Sun Exchange works with local installers and developers to build a mixture of community and commercial & industrial solar systems and mini-grids. The community projects sell electricity on a prepaid basis with the revenue returned to the projects’ owners in realtime.

“We have reduced the cost of solar ownership by three orders of magnitude a US$10 solar cell can be leased to someone in Africa for 20 years and that single solar cell could be owned by somebody sitting in their flat in Aberdeen, where they might not want to install a solar panel,” he said.

“Africa is fairly unbanked in most of the continent. There’s still scepticism and a level of difficulty transferring payments and value across borders, when using SWIFT and reserve banks all those things that come with a huge cost of effort and value when using USD or Euros and Rand. Cryptocurrencies overcome that barrier. We can now transact with the whole world using only one cryptocurrency. And not only that, but the transaction costs are so low, we can reduce the ownership down to single solar cell,” explained Cambridge.

The Sun Exchange is an Associate Sponsor of the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables Africa conference, organised by PV Tech's publisher, Solar Media. 

Read Next

February 24, 2021
Microinverter supplier to use proceeds to repurchase notes due 2024 and 2025 as well as other corporate purposes
February 15, 2021
Longroad Energy to acquire ~900MWdc of solar, with battery storage additions also to be considered.
February 11, 2021
Oil and gas major Shell has said it will spend between US$2 billion and US$3 billion on renewables and energy solutions annually to help it attain net zero status by 2050.
February 8, 2021
Major inverter manufacturer SMA Solar Technology has reported preliminary full-year 2020 financial results which met the low end of guidance but also reported a slight decline in fourth quarter sales coupled to plummeting gross margins.
February 8, 2021
Europe’s solar financing market is evolving at rapid speed, driven by changing dynamics and aided by technological advancements at the asset level. Here PV Tech re-caps the five most significant takeaways from the conference’s opening days.
February 4, 2021
Shorter power purchase agreements (PPA) could become more commonplace in Europe’s solar sector as developers strive to bring on more offtakers.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events, Upcoming Webinars
March 9, 2021
Solar Media Events
March 17, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 13, 2021
Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021