Sun Exchange Raises $1.6 Million Seed Investment to Catalyse Global Shift to Solar Power*
Published: 19 Oct 2017

Sun Exchange has raised $1.6 million in seed financing from several strategic partners to accelerate global access to solar power. Our new partners include Network Society Ventures (New York City), Kalon Venture Partners (Johannesburg, South Africa) and three of the world's leading technology accelerators, BoostVC (San Francisco Bay Area), Techstars (Boulder, Colorado) and Powerhouse (Oakland, California). This will boost our capacity to meet the demand for our pipeline of commercial-scale solar power projects, located in the sunniest regions of the planet.

Sun Exchange has been leading in the African energy market since 2014, and has now expanded globally with a United States headquarters in California and a regional operating office in Dubai.

We are the first marketplace of our kind, combining sharing economy principles with blockchain technology to democratize solar power. Sun Exchange allows individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects that are mostly situated in emerging markets, in solar-rich but power-poor regions. This makes solar panel ownership accessible to retail and institutional investors worldwide, while giving businesses and communities in emerging markets access to fully-funded solar power plants to reduce running costs and drive sustainable development.

Using our blockchain-based platform, Sun Exchange gives retail customers around the world the chance to lease solar cells bought on their platform to medium to large solar installations in emerging markets. Solar panels are sold by the single solar cell, reducing the cost of solar plant ownership to below $10.

Solar power is the most promising technology to achieve a zero-carbon future. It’s the fastest growing source of energy, but billions of people don’t own their own roof or don’t have the capital to go solar. By breaking down solar panel ownership to a single cell we reduce the cost of going solar by three orders of magnitude and we’re utilizing empty roof space in some of the sunniest cities on the planet, such as Dubai and Johannesburg. To super-charge the process we’ve combined our solar leases with another breakthrough technology - blockchain, namely Bitcoin. Putting the two together empowers anyone to go solar and be part of the global solar energy transformation with just a few taps on a screen.

At the intersection of the exponentially growing technologies of solar photovoltaics, crowdfunding and blockchain, Sun Exchange is uniquely positioned to become a leading force in the profound transformation that we will witness as we build a global 21st century civilization.

Sun Exchange leverages blockchain and Bitcoin to increase transparency and reduce the costs of the cross-border transactions, both problems that inhibit the majority of commercial solar projects from accessing traditional funding options. By presenting a simple and accessible opportunity for anyone to join the solar economy, Sun Exchange unlocks the potential for the construction of environmentally sound and socially responsible projects that would otherwise not see the light of day.

*UPDATE: Although this seed investment was fully committed at the time of this announcement, unfortunately, a significant portion of the original investment amount subsequently fell through due to regulatory hurdles. Kalon is a South African Section 12J VCC fund and the legal requirements for this new type of fund ultimately forced the reversal of the deal. Although the investment was to go directly towards our South Africa operations, creating local jobs and local expertise, our holding company, The Sun Exchange, Inc., is a U.S. company and it transpired that the law prohibits investment into businesses where assets such as IP are domiciled offshore. Kalon and Sun Exchange (Pty) Ltd endeavoured to find a structure to make the deal work, but we failed to find a model that was 100% compliant with the 12J regulations. Kalon are still hugely supportive of Sun Exchange and our mission to solar power Africa using our blockchain enabled micro-leasing platform.