Solar energy marketplace Sun Exchange has completed a $1.4-million crowdsale for a 510 kW solar and 1 MWh battery storage project to power the packhouse and cold store facilities of Zimbabwean agriculture company Nhimbe Fresh.
The fresh produce grower and exporter will save about $2-million on its solar installation and reduce overall energy costs by about 60%. As the solar power is replacing coal and diesel energy sources, its carbon emissions will be reduced by more than one-million kilograms a year, Sun Exchange said in a March 31 statement.
This is the first crowdsale by Sun Exchange of a multiphase solar and storage project and will enable Nhimbe to operate entirely on solar power.
“This is our largest crowdsale and our first project outside of South Africa. It demonstrates how individuals, empowered with innovative technology, can play a critical role in creating a more sustainable energy future by unlocking potential for clean energy in ways that traditional finance cannot,” said Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge.
About $1.4-million of solar cells were sold through the crowdsale, which were purchased by more than 1 700 individuals across 98 countries.
By buying solar cells to power Nhimbe, Sun Exchange members will earn a monthly income stream for 20 years, with an estimated internal rate of return of 16.71%, in rand terms. This is the highest earnings potential of any solar project run through the Sun Exchange platform to date.
To mitigate risk of local currency fluctuations, solar cells will be leased to Nhimbe Fresh at a dollar-pegged fixed price.