Global buy-to-lease solar marketplace the Sun Exchange has announced the opening of a new 473kW solar project crowd-sale to power Cape Town-based post-consumer recycled plastics (rPET) bottles manufacturer, Nioro Plastics.

The Cape-Town based fintech firm said in a statement that this crowd-sale will be its largest  to date, and will focus on minimising negative environmental impacts of the plastics industry.

The increasing global use of single-use plastic items such as bottles and packaging is garnering much public attention following recent headlines and studies on the matter.

For example, a much-applauded edition of National Geographic revealed how hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastics are entering oceans each year, threatening wildlife with potential catastrophic impact on the entire food chain.

“Plastics aren’t inherently bad, it’s what we do, or don’t do, with them that counts,” said Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.  

The good news is that much of the plastic we use is 100% recyclable.

Thanks to the ongoing campaigning efforts of organisations such as PETCO, South Africa is one in of the top countries globally for collecting and recycling PET, which is predominantly used to make drinking bottles.

Powering recycled materials

However, electricity is still required to repurpose recycled materials, and while this process is powered by fossil fuels, the industry can hardly claim to be a sustainable “cyclical” solution.

Enter Sun Exchange, the “AirBnB for solar panels", which enables South Africans and global citizens to generate an income stream powered by the sun in just a few clicks.

The firm explains that through this platform, practically anyone can buy solar cells installed onto the roof of Nioro Plastics, which are leased to give the plastic producer low-cost access to clean energy for a period 20 years.

This presents a unique opportunity for individuals to put their money to work and earn income while promoting clean energy and sustainability in one of South Africa’s fastest growing industries.

“We encourage the use of recycling and certainly having some of the energy required for the production of these plastic bottles being solar-driven would be a very good and positive thing,” said Simeon Penev, managing director of Nioro Plastics.

“It’s a good investment for the people leasing solar cells, because after all they will be making money!”