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Monica_55905 Aug 12

Renewable Energy: No Longer a Niche Industry

Renewable Energy: No Longer a Niche Industry image
An interview with Abe Cambridge, CEO and Founder of Sun Exchange, sponsors of the Powering Africa Summit 2021.
We are now at a moment in history where we can no longer deny our impact on Climate, and the importance of decarbonisation. The Sun Exchange has been ahead of the curve, can you tell us how you’ve perceived and reacted to the shift during the past five years?
It’s easy to feel anxious about climate change. It’s no longer just a far-off concept of concern to scientists only. Increasingly, people all around the world are directly impacted by the effects of global warming -- from devastating wildfires in Australia and California, to once-in-a-century droughts in Southern Africa. 
However, as daunting as the situation might feel, the momentum building globally across sectors to mitigate climate change is incredibly inspiring. New climate technologies are being backed by investors at record levels, and businesses, big and small, are increasingly transitioning to clean energy and working hard to decarbonise their operations. Renewable energy is no longer a niche industry, but rather a key global sector whose continued growth is essential to creating a sustainable future for humanity. 
Sun Exchange strives to be an enabling force for that momentum. We continuously innovate to make it as easy, accessible and affordable as possible for small-to-medium businesses and organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa to go solar, and to help C&I solar developers in these regions close funding gaps and unlock their project pipelines. 
There is no doubt that climate change presents a massive challenge to the world. In order to rise to the occasion, our focus as an industry must remain on fostering ingenuity that drives sustainable innovation and creates lasting change at a global scale. 
Your projects are extremely focused on the wellbeing of Africans, from supermarkets to care centers for the elderly, and of course supporting schools and housing. But exactly how much does the human factor influence your projects, and how do you work with investors to make them into a reality?
The human factor is central across the Sun Exchange value chain. In fact, we consider ourselves a people-powered solar company. Intrepid business leaders approach us seeking solutions to make their organisations more efficient and sustainable. Bright and innovative solar engineers and EPC representatives partner with us to deploy world-class solar installations. Sustainability-minded individuals around the globe buy solar cells on our digital platform to make our projects happen. Our own passionate and dedicated staff are the engine that drive our solution. And many other stakeholders and community members play important, symbiotic roles in our ecosystem by both enabling and benefiting from the clean, affordable energy that Sun Exchange brings to businesses and organisations in Southern Africa. 
What lies ahead for The Sun Exchange?
We have a long-term vision for every organisation in all sunny emerging markets to be powered by simple, affordable solar energy. However, a more immediate goal is to scale our solution across Sub-Saharan Africa, where sunshine is abundant and the need for simple solutions that enable sustainable energy development is critical. One key priority is continuing to build our network of solar developers and EPCs, who we can partner with to unlock project pipelines in markets across SSA. 
At the end of 2020 we launched a solar project for Nhimbe Fresh in Zimbabwe, which is our first project outside of South Africa and our largest to date. The project received overwhelming support from our members, resulting in a $1.4 million crowdsale, making it the biggest crowdsourced project ever in Africa. With our members’ proven appetite for the geographic expansion of our solar projects, we are now more focused than ever on growing our presence across the continent.