South African Solar Energy Blockchain Startup Raises $3 Million
South African blockchain peer-to-peer renewable energy platform Sun Exchange received a $3 million investment from Arch Emerging Markets Partners, thereby closing its $4 million Series-A funding round, according to a statement published on Monday.
Sun Exchange enables international clients to purchase remotely-located solar cells — either with Bitcoin (BTC) or South African rand — and then lease them to power businesses and organizations in rising markets. Abe Cambridge, the startup’s founder, and CEO said in a statement, “Solar cell owners earn income from the electricity that’s generated, while schools, businesses, clinics, and other organizations gain access to affordable clean energy, reducing electricity costs and carbon emissions.”
With the new investment, the Sun Exchange will reportedly provide clients “to further diversify their solar cell portfolios across regions and industries.” The company is also investigating several different markets in sub-Saharan Africa, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, Cambridge.
Energy consumption issue
Bitcoin’s consensus model, proof-of-work, is understood to spend vast amounts of energy around the world. According to the latest data from Digiconomist, the cryptocurrency’s annualized total footprint is 58.78 terawatt-hours, comparable to the power consumption of the entire country of Israel.
When questioned whether they are concerned about the amount of electricity consumed by Bitcoin, Cambridge said in a statement, “Although bitcoin mining is energy-intensive, it is more efficient than the alternative banking system, and the race is on to mine bitcoin in the most efficient manner possible, using the lowest cost energy — which is now solar energy in places with abundant sunshine. We hope bitcoin mining can be solar-powered.”
The energy that solar cells provide over their lifetime “is far greater than the energy it took to mine the Bitcoin that purchased them, creating a positive energy balance,” the CEO went on to add. In May, Australian firm Power Ledger declared a partnership with Thai Digital Energy Development to build a blockchain-based peer-to-peer digital energy platform in the country.
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