The blockchain sector has seen quite a bit of activity in the renewable energy industry lately, and the trend continues, with new reports coming from South Africa. According to the countryâ€™s solar startup, SunExchange, the firm recently raised as much as $3 million.
The funds arrived from one of South Africaâ€™s richest businessmen, as the firm reported.
SunExchange is a renewable energy company that lets people purchase individual cells on solar projects. Doing so allows them to earn a rental income, which arrives in cryptocurrency.
The company recently held a Series A funding round, beginning in 2019. So far, it managed to gather as much as $4 million. However, the majority of the raised amount â€” $3 million â€” was delivered only recently.
The fund came from African Rainbow Capital (ARC), which is backed by billionaire Patrice Motsepe. ARC invested the amount via its stake in ARCH Emerging Markets Partners, a British private equity company.
The funding underlines the growing demand for solar power, but also the investorsâ€™ growing interest in unconventional business tech in the country. Interestingly, the demand and interest continue to rise despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated a lot of sources of finance for traditional businesses and businessmen.
Motsepe founded ARC fairly recently, in 2016. The goal was to bet on future technologies on the continent. Since then, ARC served to fund various startups, like a well-known mobile internet provider, Rain, or online TymeBank.
Now, SunExchange is the next one in line. The startup is based in Cape Town, and it currently works on a crowdfunding model, selling solar panels in order to raise funds. The project plans to start as soon as all of its solar panels are sold. It also has solar power projectsÂ across the country, in 24 shopping centers, schools, as well as business parks.
It is profiting on the growing demand for renewable energy sources, which emerged after the countryâ€™s power company, Eskom, went essentially bankrupt. The company started inflicting nation-wide power blackouts all the way back in 2008, unable to recover and stabilize in the past 12 years.
Renewable energy plans have seen a lot of support from investors, and even the government made plans to add 2.6 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2022. However, they were discouraged by political issues. Now, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) â€” the governmentâ€™s research arm â€” plans the installation of medium and small PV to reach 2.33 GW by 2025. This would be a big step up, considering that the recorded production in 2017 was only 500 MW.