We have exciting news to share today that will deepen our impact on South Africa’s much-needed energy transformation. We’re thrilled to announce that Sun Exchange has entered into a new partnership with leading South African clean energy fund manager, Decentral Energy, that enables us to take on much larger solar projects than we previously have.
The agreement gives Decentral Energy’s Grovest Energy, a Section 12J fund, first right of refusal to fund 51-100% of selected Sun Exchange off-taker projects, and to fund any balances after Sun Exchange solar cell crowd sales are completed.
Decentral Energy has already provided equity and debt financing for the largest Sun Exchange project to date, the 473kW Cape Town-based Nioro Plastics, which is now one of the largest rooftop solar installments in Cape Town and came online early January this year.
Here’s what Christian Bode, Fund Manager at Decentral Energy had to say about the partnership: “We invest in small scale energy assets that demonstrate predictable, inflation-linked cash flows, because we believe that the energy future will be decentralized and built upon similar financing systems. For that reason, we support Sun Exchange in their vision to create a thriving, inclusive and decentralized solar-powered economy. We’re so confident about their business model that we’ve already bought into the Nioro Plastics project, and our goal is to fund 20 MWp of Sun Exchange projects by 2020.”
Abe Cambridge, Sun Exchange CEO & Founder, noted: “Decentral’s confidence in our projects demonstrates that our solar cell leasing marketplace offers a reliable, lucrative and socially responsible source of income for anyone.”
The agreement increases the ability of Sun Exchange to host larger projects with less risk. For Sun Exchange users, this means that they can be part of large or small projects and there is greater reliability around the completion dates of crowd sales and subsequently quicker time scales to having their solar cells rented out. This is also good news for off-takers, such as Nioro Plastics, as the agreement highlights the increasing availability of equity and debt financing for viable small projects, which large financiers are traditionally not interested in funding.
Decentral purchased nearly 59% of the Nioro Plastics solar cells. Over 20 years, Nioro Plastics will produce 14.12GWh of clean electricity, which is equivalent to over 10 million kilograms of coal burned.
“We turn recycled PET into everyday household items that last a very long time and which continue to be 100% recyclable,” said Simeon Penev, Nioro Plastics Managing Director. “We are committed to recycling and producing these products in a cleaner and more cost-efficient way, using renewable energy. The solar project was easy to justify, because we will be saving on our energy bill moving forward.”
To date, Sun Exchange has successfully hosted crowd-sales for seven other solar projects in South Africa through its solar micro-leasing platform. Our ability to get larger projects off the ground means an increased ability to expand, scale and drive the global solar revolution, while streaming more monetised sunshine into our members’ digital wallets.