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Exclusive interview with Abraham Cambridge

Abraham is the Founder and CEO, The Sun Exchange, the winners of the Best Bitcoin/Blockchain Business in Africa 2016. A returning speaker at African Utility Week, Abraham is part of a session on “Increasing access to capital and financing” during the inaugural Energy Revolution Africa in May.

Which products or services by your company are you most excited about right now and which current trends or developments in the industry are you most excited about?
We have built a blockchain based solar energy finance platform which fills a huge funding gap for commercial and industrial solar energy projects in Africa. Solar installation companies and project developers who had previously unfundable projects can get their projects built. This is rapidly accelerating the deployment of clean energy for industry, providing clean and lower cost energy which supports sustainable development and faster economic growth.

What makes you/your company a leader in this field?
We are the first and remain the only company in the world to use digital currency to finance solar projects and the first crowd-funding platform to serve solar energy finance in South Africa.

Any specific projects/success stories that have made a huge difference that you can share?
The first project we delivered was to solar power Stellenbosch Waldorf School which was voted ‘best community project’ in the ESI African Power Elites 2017 (attached). Since then we have funded three projects in Durban, Rustenburg and Cape Town.  In total our projects have saved our customers millions of kg of CO2, cut their energy bills by 10% and provided solar powered income to >250 people located throughout the globe.

What in your opinion are the biggest challenges that the utility/energy industry is facing currently?
Transaction costs, concerns of corruption and currency risk. All if these things are mitigated or resolved completely with blockchain technology.

Which regions in Africa are you most interested in at the moment?
The whole continent. Africa is rising and has to go solar or the planet cannot sustain the environmental impact that fossil fuels will have.

What excites you about this industry?
Converging technologies leading to a technological leapfrogging for Africa; merging smart metering with blockchain and mini-grids powered by clean tech. The level of innovation happening in Africa will make the continent the envy of the world and the benchmark for electrification for all developing regions.

What surprises you about this industry?
The determination to build Victorian age centralised thermal power stations and millions of km of transmission lines! What a waste of energy and materials! This stuff is redundant now we have clean energy micro-grids.

You are a regular speaker at African Utility Week, what makes you return to the event every year?
A huge range of speakers and getting kept up to date on progress and knowledge transfer with industry leaders. This is the only event where different disciplines cross over so solar experts can mingle with metering experts etc.

What will be your message at African Utility Week?
Africa is home to the greatest energy innovations in the world, because of the opportunities of working on a clean canvas. This means that we are building infrastructure appropriate for the unique needs of the continent but will ultimately be the envy of the world.

Anything you would like to add?
We are currently running a crowd-sale campaign for a 65kW micro-grid in Lesotho, anyone in the world can become a part owner of this project and earn an income stream from it. We invite people to follow our video diary at www.instagram.com/SunExchange.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.


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