Why we’re trialling our first impact only project

Published: 21 Apr 2023

Sun Exchange recently launched a project that allows members to significantly deepen the socio-economic impact of their solar cells. By purchasing solar cells in the crowdsale for Buhle Farmers’ Academy, our first impact only (zero IRR) project, your solar-powered earnings effectively go to the nonprofit in order to maximise electricity cost savings (40-70%), boosting their ability to advance food security, better livelihoods and reduced poverty in South Africa. Buhle’s work is critical - in 2021, about 2.1 million (11.6%) of South African households experienced hunger. Training emerging farmers is key to tackling food insecurity.

For some time now, many of you have expressed interest in zero earnings projects to boost your impact. There are crucial causes, like Buhle, where, as a community, we can all chip in a little and unite to make a major impact. We’re inviting you to test this out with the Buhle project. For other Sun Exchange projects, we need to carefully balance financial yield to cell owners with the ability to deliver meaningful savings to the energy consumer. We usually find a good balance - for schools, for instance, we can offer decent savings while providing you with decent earnings.

For high social impact projects such as Buhle, we ideally want to maximise savings, especially considering that electricity tariffs in South Africa have increased by 653% the past five years, while inflation over this period was 129%. This has placed an enormous burden on nonprofits and the most significant way we all can help is by cutting their electricity bills right down, reducing overheads so they can focus on their core social good and sustainability missions.

In Buhle’s case, they will pay only a very low rate for the electricity generated by the system in order to allow us to run the plant sustainably, and to maintain and insure it.

Now in its 22nd year, Buhle Farmers' Academy has already trained over 7,000 emerging farmers, half of which have been women. The solar cells you buy will directly contribute to their ability to continue this essential work which reduces food insecurity in the country.

Please get involved now and share this opportunity with your friends and family!