Small farmers’ training receives a solar boost

8 May 2023

by Fredalette Uys

A training institute for small farmers, Buhle Farmers’ Academy will soon be able to rely on solar power thanks to a unique crowdsale opportunity. 

The Buhle Farmer’s Academy solar power project entails a 48,6 kW solar power system to supply power to the academy in Delmas, where the non-profit organisation provides training, mentoring and support to small-scale farmers from across South Africa.

“The prospect of transferring to solar power holds a lot of meaning and is very exciting for Buhle Farmers’ Academy,” says Zamo Shongwe, the Executive Director of the Buhle Farmers’ Academy.

“Not only will it significantly reduce our energy costs, but it will also address the energy and climate crises, which both have destructive effects on small-scale farmers and South Africa and must be mitigated for the industry to thrive.”

What makes this project so unique is that the Buhle Farmer’s Academy is Sun Exchange’s first project that is donation based with funders who therefore plough their earnings from the project back into the Buhle Farmers’ Academy project in order to boost the positive impact and economic benefits of the academy. According to Sun Exchange, it is due to increased demand from their supporters for more impact-driven projects. 

The company, Sun Exchange, is a solar power rental platform where people and businesses can buy solar cells through crowd sales and earn an income from it by selling the power to users.

“The solar power project will be installed for Buhle at no cost and will reduce the organisation’s energy costs dramatically with an estimated 40% to 70%,” explains Sun Exchange.

“It is also especially meaningful given the 653% increase in electricity tariffs and 129% inflation rate in South Africa over the last five years, which has placed a huge burden on the shoulders of non-profit organisations.”

According to Saul Wainwright, the Chief Financial Officer of Sun Exchange, the company was able to build a passionate global community over the past seven years who understand the profound benefits of solar energy and are committed to unlocking the potential thereof. 

“We are overjoyed to see how the community will support Buhle Farmers’ Academy’s solar power project with a strong emphasis on driving positive socio-economic and environmental impacts.

“We invite others across South Africa to join us in getting Buhle onto solar power.”

Buhle Farmers’ Acadamy’s only expenses will be paying a significantly lower power tariff for the power supplied by the solar power system in order to cover costs regarding management, maintenance, monitoring and insurance of the system.

Thus far, the project has gotten 31% of its funding from 186 members of Sun Exchange coming from South Africa as well as globally.

Anyone can become a Sun Exchange member to support the project, with the cost of one cell being R99. Follow the link to make a contribution:

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