PIVOT | South Africa’s Bitcoin-Powered Energy Fintech, Sun Exchange, Pivots from Crowdsourcing Model to Institutional Funding of Solar Projects

“The crowdsale model is, unfortunately, no longer a viable business model for Sun Exchange. . . . The growth in funding from institutions stands in stark contrast to the decline in crowdsale demand over the last two years." - Sun Exchange

Sun Exchange, a South African energy-fintech startup, has declared a shift away from its original Bitcoin-powered crowdsale model towards an institution-focused approach for funding small-scale solar projects.

Founded in 2015, the company initially identified institutions with viable solar power projects – such as schools and businesses – listed the projects, and individuals from anywhere in the world would invest in the projects typically contributing funds in BTC.


“The initial inspiration for Sun Exchange was rooted in the urgent need to address the climate crisis, and that remains a powerful motivator for us. However, we now also find ourselves playing a critical and unexpected role in responding to South Africa’s energy crisis. This has brought challenges and opportunities that are bigger and more urgent than we could have imagined in the early days,” the startup said in a statement.

“With a landscape that has so markedly changed in recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that for Sun Exchange to continue growing successfully and sustainably, we too must evolve.”


The startup was able to create a community of over 20,000 members spanning approximately 170 countries. Through this network, Sun Exchange facilitated the provision of solar power to over 90 high-impact organizations, including schools, farms, retirement homes, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations, among others.

Sun Exchange also collaborated with local NFT platform, Momint, to launch SunCash, a website where South Africans could invest in solar power projects for as little as R150 ($8.33). 

The company is transitioning its focus entirely to full-service commercial solar power and energy storage project development. All projects will now be funded through a growing global network of corporate and institutional funders.


“This enables us to continue serving our core sectors of high-impact organizations including schools, retirement homes, NPOs, and agriculture while expanding into larger commercial and industrial projects as well.

The most difficult part of this transition is that we’re moving away from the original crowdsale-based model, which has been core to Sun Exchange since its founding. It’s what allowed us to build a global community of solar power supporters and what established Sun Exchange as an innovative industry leader,” said the company.

“The crowdsale model is, unfortunately, no longer a viable business model for Sun Exchange.”




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