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Sun Exchange’s solar installation bears fruit for Nhimbe Fresh

By , ITWeb
Zimbabwe , 19 Jan 2022

Peer-to-peer solar leasing platform Sun Exchange announced the 510 kWp + 1MWh solar-plus-storage installation to power Nhimbe Fresh, premier exporter of fresh produce in Marondera, Zimbabwe, has started generating electricity.

In November 2020 Sun Exchange announced the project, describing it as “its largest solar installation to date and the first outside South Africa.”

Sun Exchange previously completed the crowdsale for the project, with approximately US$1.4-million of solar cells bought by over 1,905 individuals across 98 countries, “making it the biggest crowdsourced project of any kind in Africa.”

This is the first of a multiphase solar-plus-storage project that will provide the fresh produce grower and exporter with lower-cost and reliable electricity and nearly eliminate its reliance on the grid.

According to Sun Exchange, its model enables Nhimbe Fresh to cut energy-related costs by roughly 60%, and with solar power replacing coal and diesel generation/backup, its emissions will be reduced by more than 1,000 tonnes per year.

The landmark project will power the Nhimbe Fresh packhouse and cold store facilities. It marks Sun Exchange’s 44th completed solar installation and first to feature battery storage.

Abraham Cambridge, CEO and Founder, Sun Exchange, said, “With African countries under pressure to decarbonise while simultaneously growing their economies, we need innovation that enables clean energy for businesses without placing a burden on national budgets or hindering development. With our technology and community-driven approach to solar, businesses like Nhimbe Fresh can access affordable, reliable solar power, protect their operations from power outages, reduce energy costs and lead efforts to create a sustainable future.”

Energea Global, a US renewable energy developer and portfolio manager, which manages over US$100-million in funds, also purchased thousands of solar cells in the Nhimbe Fresh solar project.

Mike Silvestrini, Partner and Co-Founder, Energea, said, “With the impacts of climate change becoming alarmingly real across the world, we must support and scale solutions that address the finance gap for smaller solar projects in emerging markets. We share Sun Exchange’s passion for this work, and are proud and excited to have made this project part of the offering to our investors, joining Nhimbe Fresh on their solar journey.”

Dr Edwin Masimba Moyo, Chairman and sole shareholder, Nhimbe Fresh, added, “We’re thrilled that so many sustainability-minded people from around the world are now earning income from the solar cells that power our packhouse. This sets an important precedent for what technology can make possible for solar power in Africa when organisations and individuals put their money to work doing good.”

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