My Sun Exchange solar cells have returned 18% in a year. 🌞 Want a free cell?

This is the third year I've bought solar cells on The Sun Exchange platform ( The main reason I do it is that it is one of the very few ways I can compensate for my CO2 emissions in a potentially profitable way. There's currently a project on The Sun Exchange that has a forecasted IRR of 16.71%. Continue reading to find out more.

The way The Sun Exchange works is that the solar cells I purchase get installed on the roofs of African businesses, schools and other buildings. They start generating clean electricity compared to what they used to get, which is purchased from me at often cheaper than market price.

There's a webinar coming up this Wednesday where you get to meet the founder and CEO of Sun Exchange, Abraham Cambridge and others. We're trying to raise more awareness about Sun Exchange and if you have any questions, this is The Place to ask them straight to the key people involved.

Also, if you buy a solar cell on Sun Exchange through my affiliate link, you'll receive a free solar cell as a gift! 🌞

More about the webinar at the end.

Four sites and 5th coming up

So far, the cells I've bought have offset 745 kilograms of CO2 in the atmosphere. That's only about 1/12 of my annual emissions, but there are a couple of decades still left in the cells. Every year I invest enough to offset at least 9 tons of CO2 which corresponds to my annual long-term emissions (when you're allowed to travel).

Here are the projects I'm currently invested in:

Wynberg Boys' Junior School (link)

Wynberg Boys' Junior School was founded in 1841 and is one of the leading boy's schools in South Africa. It is located in Cape Town, close to the historic centre. I only have 6 cells installed on the school's roof and they have so far exceeded the power output forecast.

Wynberg Girls' High School (link)

Nearby the boy's junior school is the girl's high school, which was founded much later in 1884. Like the boy's junior school, this one is highly reputable. I have 26 cells installed and similarly their power output has so far exceeded forecast.

Spar Supermarket (link)

The third project is a SPAR supermarket in the town of Belfast, South Africa. The 38 solar cells I own are lowering the electricity bill in this remote location, whilst providing me with a small income and reducing emissions. The project has operated as expected.

The first three projects were started in 2019, amounting to 70 cells

uShaka Shopping Mall (link)

In 2020 I added another 70 cells to my account, this time to a shopping mall in KwaDukuza. The municipality has set an agenda to 'Go Green by 2030', but has struggled with ageing infrastructure. The area suffers from drought due to climate change and replacing electricity sources to greener options helps fight that.

Nhimbe Fresh (link)

Lastly my most recent addition is an agricultural leader in Marondera, Zimbabwe. This project is different in many ways, but most importantly

  1. There's an integrated battery storage, necessary when power is needed throughout the day and there's excess at day time.
  2. Lease is denominated to USD, reducing currency risk
  3. Lease payments are fixed per cell per month, not per kWh produced, which makes also for more predictable earnings.
Nhimbe Fresh exports blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, stone fruit, snap peas and snow peas to major international grocery retailers across the world. The first phase of this multiproject (the one I've invested in) will power Nhimbe Fresh’s packhouse and cold store facilities.

Prior to Nhimbe Fresh, I had spent 10,190 ZAR for a total of 140 cells. That's about 556€ in today's exchange rate. In total, the cells have earned me 2.65700 mBTC, which is about 108€ today. In all honesty though, a significant boost has come from the increase in BTC value. But as I've said before, earning is beside the point. Primarily I'm in it to offset my CO2. If eventually I end up earning something whilst doing it, that's just a bonus.

Nhimbe Fresh has a forecasted 16.71% - currently raising funds

You can find good material on Nhimbe Fresh on its project page. Have a look at the project video below to learn more and definitely check out the project info pack.

As I've explained in the Sun Exchange review, the cells are covered for fire, theft and damage/liability. According to the contract, the lease rate will escalate at CPI + 1% per year. This way, inflation will not eat away returns, but instead, the rent will always surpass it. In fact, that is a big part of the forecasted returns.

Even with the lease escalating 1% over CPI, it still can mean cheaper electricity to the customer than other alternatives. Electricity prices are increasing in South Africa by significantly higher rates than inflation almost every year since the year 2000. As the lease is binding for 20 years, the customers have a very predictable rate hikes, as opposed to buying electricity from e.g. Eskom.

My yield is currently 18%, but it's with a catch

So while the cells have returned 18% in a year, it's not easily repeatable. However, if you look at the project descriptions above, some of them, like the one currently raising funds, Nhimbe Fresh, claims a 16.71% forecasted IRR. This is possible due to the fact that inflation in South Africa has been high, 3.24% last year, and since the lease rate is agreed to surpass it. This is what makes for the high calculated IRR. But how did I reach 18% in a year?

It's because I got paid in BTC, and BTC has drastically increased in value over the period. You get paid to a BTC wallet that you can cash out on Wednesdays for a small fee.

A closer look at the projected future cash flow shows that the break-even point for the project lies around 7-8 years. So, if you owned your cells for that long and BTC was at current level, you'd break even. I believe you'll have plenty of opportunities to sell your BTC for profit way before that, but still I hope Sun Exchange introduces a way to get paid in fiat soon, e.g. through a partnership with Wise (😉). Also, Sun Exchange has promised a secondary market, that would enable you to sell your cells forward during the 20 year lease. You can ask about that in the webinar 😊.

Anyway - It's not about the money! It's about supporting businesses that are changing the world for greener. Most people think that the only way to heal the planet is by regulation. Sure, that's one of the most effective ways, but, even better is if investors and individuals change their behavior in a way that the environmentally friendly way is the only financially feasible one. Sun Exchange has accomplished three great things:

  1. Replace polluting electricity with a green option
  2. Do it in a way that actually saves money for the customer in the long run
  3. Enables investors to take part

Join the webinar with The Sun Exchange

Many of my readers already own cells on the platform, so those of you should already know what it is about. Whether solar cells are already generating income for you in Africa, or you're contemplating if this is too good to be true, you're invited to join a webinar with The Sun Exchange.

To RSVP, please register on eventbrite:

If you're a subscriber to the blog, you've also received the invite over email. Hoping to see you all there!😉

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