Sun Exchange | Impact Investing

Join the solar revolution. Monetize sunshine. This is one of the slogan of Sun Exchange: the world’s first peer-to-peer solar leasing platform. Through Sun Exchange, anyone, anywhere in the world, can own solar energy-producing cells and build wealth by leasing those cells to power businesses and organisations (schools, vet clinics, malls) in emerging markets (currently in South Africa), with installations and maintenance taken care of by one of Sun Exchange’s carefully selected installation partners. The company leverages financial innovation and the power of the crowd to drive sustainable energy development and make the environmental, social and economic benefits of solar accessible and affordable for all.

How to use it: thanks to blockchain technology, investors worldwide can invest using bitcoins or relying on local banks. 

My notes as a user:

Pros: 

– Environmental impact thanks to investments in solar energy

– Social impact thanks to the support to local schools 

Cons:

– Long-term investment (long payback period) in a developing country with high inflation

– very illiquid investment

– limited diversification (so far the projects are only in South Africa)

– taking into consideration the long term investment, the high inflation in South Africa and the ultimate currency risk, the returns are not substantial. 

 

Notes

The company reports that many investors from US approach the lending as a grant to avoid the complex US regulatory system in terms of foreign revenues. Depending on your home country or fiscal residence, Sun Exchange can be either part of an Impact Finance portfolio (around 1% of your total investment portfolio), or a “smart” eco-friendly donation part of an annual tithe.