Sun Exchange, a South African blockchain-based peer-to-peer renewable energy startup, has announced that a recent project they had backed installing solar power production at Zimbabwean fresh produce facility, Nhimbe Fresh, has kicked off operations.
Nhimbe Fresh did not pay any funds upfront for the installation but the operation was funded through a crowdfund and lease model that is at the heart of Sun Exchange’s business.
The Nhimbe Fresh solar project was the 44th solar project completed using the Sun Exchange model for expanding access to clean solar energy to institutions across South Africa who want it.
Here is how the model works:
Sun Exchange finds institutions with viable solar projects
Sun Exchange lists a project and members contribute funds, typically in BTC, to buy equipment
Contributors lease their equipment to institutions with solar projects across South Africa earning yield on their investments over a 20 yr period
“We previously completed the crowdsale for the project, with approximately $1.4 million of solar cells bought by 1,905 Sun Exchange members across 98 countries, making it the biggest crowdsourced project of any kind in Africa.“
– Sun Exchange
Besides the impact for institutions such as schools and churches in South Africa who get to have an affordable route to implement their solar projects, Sun Exchange also presents an opportunity for Bitcoin carbon offsetting.
Much of the criticism around the financial technology has been around its energy consumption during its mining. According to this site that tracks bitcoin energy use, bitcoin consumes 204.50 Terawatts every hour which is simialr to the total energy consumption of Kuwait.
Furthermore, bitcoin’s carbon footprint is similar to Kuwait’s at 97.14 Metric Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). However, with an innovation like Sun Exchange, proponents argue that this offsets bitcoin’s carbon footprint since, in exchange, it helps to generate a larger amount of clean solar energy.
Anyone can sign up to participate in Sun Exchange crowdsales through its website.