South African start-up Sun Exchange launches project in Zimbabwe

Launched in 2015, South African start-up Sun Exchange enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy remotely-located solar cells that power schools, businesses and other organisations.

The start-up has since then built a community of more than 19,000 members across 168 countries and brought solar power to 35 South African schools, businesses and organisations, and it set itself up for further growth after closing its US$4 million Series A investment round in June.

Sun Exchange, a peer-to-peer solar leasing platform, has begun its expansion across the continent with the launch of the crowd-sale for the first phase of a 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar-plus-storage project for Zimbabwean company Nhimbe Fresh.

Sun Exchange’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Abraham Cambridge told Disrupt Podcast the start-up would initially be targeting neighbouring countries, and that has proven the case with the Nhimbe Fresh partnership.

Based in Zimbabwe, Nhimbe Fresh is a leading African exporter of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, stone fruit, snap peas and snow peas. Its partnership with Sun Exchange will be the latter’s largest solar installation to date, as well as the first outside of South Africa.

The multiphase solar and battery project will power Nhimbe Fresh packhouse and cold store facilities (phase one), pump sites (phase two), and Churchill Farm (phase three). The introduction of continuous, reliable power, at a lower cost than running diesel generators, is forecast to reduce the Nhimbe Fresh facilities’ energy costs by more than 60 per cent per year and carbon emissions by more than one million kilogrammes per year.

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