Pretoria Boys High gets bitcoin-funded solar power after R2.8-million crowdsale

Solar leasing platform Sun Exchange has announced that a Bitcoin investor has used some of his cryptocurrency to fund most of a large solar energy project at Pretoria Boys High School.

“By using the Sun Exchange platform to buy 98% of all solar cells in the project, the individual will earn income for 20 years on the clean energy they generate, while the school gains solar power at zero capital cost,” Sun Exchange stated.

In its announcement about the successful crowdsale, Sun Exchange said the 198-kilowatt solar system would cut 5,800 tonnes of carbon over 20 years, equivalent to taking 210,000 petrol cars off the road for a year.

It would also reduce the school’s energy bills and its reliance on diesel generators during load-shedding.

Asked for more details about the project, Sun Exchange told MyBroadband that the system will be roof-mounted and supply over a quarter (26.1%) of the school’s total power consumption.

“The school has a lot of heritage buildings so the system will be installed on a new roof (the music centre),” a spokesperson told MyBroadband.

Sun Exchange also revealed that the total value raised during the crowdsale was about R2.8 million and said the transaction was carbon-negative.

“The solar project will offset far more carbon than what was released to mine the actual bitcoin used in the transaction,” it stated.

Sun Exchange project at Groote Schuur High School

“This project and the purchase of solar cells by an alumnus of the school and crypto investor demonstrate the power of cryptocurrency and innovative fintech to unlock capital for the clean energy transition,” said recently-appointed Sun Exchange CEO Saul Wainwright.

Sun Exchange hosts solar crowdsales for schools, retirement homes, farms and other organisations on its online platform. Any individual or business can buy solar cells — in bitcoin or regular currency — that power organisations in Southern Africa.

These organisations then pay for the clean energy generated through the systems deployed on their premises, and a portion of the revenue is returned to investors who participated in the crowdsale.

“Solar cell owners can elect to receive their monthly income in either bitcoin or South African rand, paid into an online wallet provided by the platform,” Sun Exchange stated.

Sun Exchange is backed by a group part-owned by billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital Investments.

The company boasts over a hundred corporate funders and over 40,000 individual members across 180 countries.

It reports that it has completed 80 solar projects, sold over 10MW of solar cells, and produced over 20GWh of clean electricity.

“We are thrilled that an old boy of the school and crypto enthusiast has joined our sustainability journey,” said Pretoria Boys High School headmaster Greg Hassenkamp.

“Clean energy will benefit our entire campus, including our classrooms, laboratories, and special venues. At the same time, the project will reduce our energy costs and carbon footprint, while also showcasing the significant influence of technology and innovation as the school heads towards a greener future.”

Sun Exchange project at Wynberg Girls Junior School
Sun Exchange project at Protea Heights Academy
Sun Exchange project at Sacred Heart School

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Pretoria Boys High gets bitcoin-funded solar power after R2.8-million crowdsale