First Western Cape School Goes Solar Through Sun Exchange (Crowd Sale Now Open!)

Published: 10 Apr 2019

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.” This is the chilling warning delivered by 15-year old Greta Thunberg during her COP24 speech urging immediate climate action. Greta is right -- it’s our children who will be at the mercy of the effects of climate change. And as she demonstrates through the powerful speech she delivers, if armed with the right tools, opportunities and knowledge, it is also our children who can be among the most powerful agents of change.

For this reason, the Sun Exchange team is very excited to announce our plans to solar power several schools in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The crowd sale for the first school in the series, Protea Heights Academy in Cape Town, is now open. Individuals who participate in the crowd sale by purchasing solar cells to power Protea Heights, will earn a monthly rental income equivalent to an estimated 11.02% internal rate of return (IRR) for the next 20 years.

As Sun Exchange founder and CEO, Abe Cambridge, puts it, “Sustainability and the global transition to clean energy are at the core of our mission. The South African national grid has one of the highest concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity. Through Sun Exchange, anyone in the world can now own solar cells which offset these emissions, making a global impact. And specifically, by solar powering schools across Africa, we’re driving forward this transition while showing future generations what is possible through technology innovation. We are delighted to make clean power accessible to Protea Heights Academy as the first of the Western Cape Department of Education schools and many more schools to come.”

Sun Exchange enables schools to have solar power installed with no upfront or ongoing operational costs. With immediate savings on their energy bills from the first day the solar project is operational, schools can focus their resources on what they do best - education. Not only does this help schools reduce their carbon footprint and save money in the short term, it also provides schools with some immunity against the imminent electricity tariff hikes recently announced by ESKOM.

Sun Exchange schools projects provide an opportunity for anyone, anywhere in the world to earn an income stream by supporting innovative, future-minded schools like Protea Heights in their efforts to go solar. Anyone who wants to get involved should simply register to become a Sun Exchange member, then head to the project page to participate in the crowd sale.

Protea Heights Academy, a school of the Western Cape Department of Education, specialises in maths, sciences and technology. A hub for e-learning and advanced learning, the school already has a formidable reputation for excellence and futuristic, critical thinking in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution.

“Our school is a place where learners are empowered to compete globally and solve global problems,” said Wendy Horn, Principal of Protea Heights Academy. “With our focus on technology and innovation, it is a natural progression to transition the school away from fossil fuels. The solar project supports the school’s goal to produce global citizens who embrace the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. Having the world come to our school, through investment, is a massive achievement. Sun Exchange and its members are helping us make that transition, by making solar accessible and affordable.”

The learners at Protea Heights Academy are excited about the prospect of learning about the practical application and benefits of finance and energy innovation. According to Jonathan de Kock, a learner at the school, “the project even allows us learners to make investments into solar cells that will power our school, which teaches us important investment skills.”

Government plays a critical role as champions of innovation that benefits schools and learners, and that drive forward a country’s energy transformation. The Sun Exchange project at Protea Heights Academy and other schools are supported by both the Western Cape Department of Education, and the Western Cape Department of Economic Opportunities.

“I must congratulate Protea Heights Academy on their initiative to reduce their carbon footprint and to model climate leadership in education,” said Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education. “We have a responsibility to be more proactive in limiting our carbon footprint, but it has been too expensive for us to implement widely in schools. Thanks to this innovative approach, Protea Heights will, working with Sun Exchange, transition to lower cost, clean energy affordably, as well as use this opportunity to teach the learners about the technology and principles of entrepreneurship, and our role as a country in the Sustainable Development Goals. This really is an outstanding example of making learning come to life.”

Beverley Schäfer, Minister of Economic Opportunities for the Western Cape stated, “The province is committed to growing our green economy, and to transitioning our province, including our schools, away from coal-based, centralised electricity generation. By investing in technologies that build our resilience as a province, we are future-proofing our schools against rising energy prices.”

Sarmie Mommiez has been named as the designated charity for the project at Protea Heights Academy. Sarmie Mommiez is a registered non-profit organisation that uplift and empower various impoverished communities in the Western Cape. Individuals who buy into the Protea Heights Academy solar project can choose to donate a proportion of their Sun Exchange revenue to Sarmie Mommiez.

With the opportunity to support this standup South African educational institution in its efforts to reduce its climate impact and energy costs, while teaching students about climate leadership, this crowd sale is bound to sell out fast! Sign up now to purchase solar cells for the Protea Heights Academy project and start earning a solar-powered income stream ASAP.