Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine-producing farm and a world-renowned tourist destination, has partnered with Sun Exchange (www.sunexchange.com), an innovative solar leasing platform, to harness the power of community and go solar. A crowdsale for a 165 kilowatt (kW) solar plant to power Groot Constantia’s winemaking facilities and restaurants is now being hosted on the Sun Exchange platform. Through this crowd sale, people across South Africa and the globe can easily buy solar cells for R64.00 per cell, which will be installed in the solar plant that will power Groot Constantia. Once the 43,448 available solar cells are sold, the solar plant is built and starts generating electricity. Via the Sun Exchange platform, Groot Constantia will pay solar cell owners for the clean energy they produce for 20 years. The solar project crowd sale will run throughout the month of July until all solar cells sell out.
The Sun Exchange model enables Groot Constantia to access solar power at a rate lower than standard utility rates, while solar cell owners earn a stream of solar-powered income and support the estate’s transition to clean energy. The solar plant will help avoid an estimated 4,700 tonnes of carbon emissions in its lifetime. “For centuries, Groot Constantia has been a place where people from across South Africa and the world come together to enjoy great wine and South Africa’s heritage and natural beauty. Now, we’re looking to the future and working with Sun Exchange to bring together a global community to be part of our solar project. This enables us to protect and conserve that heritage and natural beauty,” said Jean Naudé, CEO, of Groot Constantia. Groot Constantia is committed to conserving the environment in which it operates, and on which it relies, and has a long history of implementing initiatives to ensure it does no harm through its farming practices.
The estate has invested significant time and resources on refining responsible production practices by spearheading innovations in water, energy efficiency and climate adaptation, and integrated environmental management systems. Its transition to solar power is the next step in its commitment to conservation. “Groot Constantia is a cultural and historical icon and an environmental leader. We’re honoured to have Sun Exchange and our global community be part of their solar power journey,” said Abraham Cambridge, CEO, of Sun Exchange. “This project will set a precedent across South Africa’s wine and tourism industries, demonstrating that transitioning away from fossil fuels is the best decision not only from a climate perspective but also financially.”
Since its founding in 2015, Sun Exchange has enabled solar power for more than 60 businesses, farms, schools and other organisations in Southern Africa. Its solar projects have generated more than 12 Gigawatt-hours of clean energy, avoiding more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Thousands of people from 180 countries worldwide use the Sun Exchange platform to buy and own solar cells, produce clean electricity and earn with purpose. The Sun Exchange vision is a world where all people and organisations can harness affordable clean energy to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.