Solar micro-leasing marketplace Sun Exchange announced on Wednesday that it would be a key partner in providing solar power for several Western Cape Education Department schools, starting with Protea Heights Academy in Cape Town.
Sun Exchange enables schools and businesses to have solar power installed with no upfront or ongoing operational costs. With immediate savings on their energy bills from the first day, the solar project is operational and schools can focus their resources on education.
“Not only does this help schools save money in the short term, it also provides schools with some immunity against future electricity tariff hikes from State-owned power utility Eskom,” Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge said.
The Sun Exchange schools project provides an opportunity for people across the globe to own and lease solar cells to innovative, future-minded and sustainability-oriented schools like Protea Heights Academy.
“Through Sun Exchange, practically anyone, anywhere in the world can purchase solar cells, which are then installed on the roof of schools and other organisations in developing regions. Solar-cell owners earn an income stream from the electricity generated, while schools gain access to affordable, clean energy for years to come,” he explained.
“With our focus on technology and innovation, it is a natural progression to transition the school away from fossil fuels,” says Protea Heights Academy principal Wendy Horn.
“The solar project supports the school’s goal to produce global citizens who embrace the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Having the world come to our school, through investment, is a massive achievement. Sun Exchange and its members are helping us make that transition by making solar accessible and affordable,” says Horn.
Sustainability and the global transition to clean energy are at the core of Sun Exchange’s mission, said Cambridge.
“By providing solar power for schools across Africa, we are driving this transition while showing future generations what is possible through technology innovation. We are delighted to be working with the Western Cape Department of Education and the Western Cape Ministry of Economic Opportunities to make clean power accessible to Protea Heights as the first of the Western Cape schools and many more schools to come.”
Government plays a critical role as champions of innovation that benefits schools and learners, and that drive forward a country’s energy transformation.
“I must congratulate Protea Heights Academy on their initiative to reduce their carbon footprint and to model climate leadership in education,” said Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education. “We have a responsibility to be more proactive in limiting our carbon footprint, but it has been too expensive for us to implement widely in schools. Thanks to this innovative approach, Protea Heights will, working with Sun Exchange, transition to lower cost, clean energy affordably, as well as use this opportunity to teach the learners about the technology and principles of entrepreneurship, and our role as a country in the Sustainable Development Goals. This really is an outstanding example of making learning come to life.”
Beverley Schäfer, Minister of Economic Opportunities for the Western Cape stated, “The province is committed to growing our green economy, and to transitioning our province, including our schools, away from coal-based, centralised electricity generation. By investing in technologies that build our resilience as a province, we are future-proofing our schools against rising energy prices.”
Sarmie Mommiez is a registered non-profit organisation that uplift and empower various impoverished communities in the Western Cape. Individuals who buy into the Protea Heights Academy solar project can choose to donate a proportion of their Sun Exchange revenue to the charity.
The Protea Heights project will be the eighth Sun Exchange solar project in South Africa. The previous seven projects have already been successfully deployed and are generating affordable, clean power for organisations across South Africa while providing solar-cell owners an income.