Hoping to lower electricity costs for its residents, the online marketplace Sun Exchange, allows individuals to buy their own solar cells with cash or bitcoin and lease them to power solar schemes in emerging economies.
Twelve years ago, property developer Anver Essop bought land in what was Cape Town’s gang controlled flat area. Today this area is called the Watergate Estate and is a rather sought-after sanctuary that is soon be fitted with solar panels funded through an online leasing platform.
“We thought, why don’t we give people the same product we build in wealthier areas and uplift them to improve their own lives,” Essop commented in an interview with Thomson Reuters. Local news reporters also explained how this partnership between Sun Exchange and the Watergate Estate represents a key milestone for Essop.
At the moment, the solar cells can be bought with cash or bitcoin for 90 rand (USD$6) each and owners lease generated electricity at a pre-agreed price. Residents will be able to save nearly 40% in electricity costs over the period of 20 years. Upon which the project will be decommissioned or Watergate will reserve the option to purchase the solar-power system, explained Sun Exchange founder, Abe Cambridge.
“By combining cryptocurrency and energy, you end up with someone sitting in London getting an income from selling green energy where it is needed and offsetting their carbon footprint,” he further added.
For now, the energy produced by the solar cells will be linked to the national grid. However, Cambridge is hoping to add a battery that will be able to store solar power to protect residents from blackouts. Sun Exchange hopes to expand its online platform on a global scale in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where similar energy challenges are experienced.
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