The Sunexchange Nhimbe Fresh crowd sale has raised US$2,5 million to finance a 1,9 megawat solar plant, making it the largest solar crowd sale in Africa so far, in a massive show of investor confidence for Zimbabwe.
Sunexchange is a U.S owned company based in South Africa with a platform where investors can buy solar cells that represents shares in large projects it finances.
Investors will then get returns from power generated. Nhimbe is a diversified agricultural company largely involved in horticultural commodities and other cash crops.
The company, founded by Edwin Moyo, the former owner of Kondozi Estates will lease the plant from Sunexchage. Proceeds from plant usage will pay investors over 22 years. Sunexchange has already contracted Sinogy of China to build the plant with phase one expected to be completed in the next five months, starting with a park house.
“Investors from USA, Europe, Australia and South Africa participated in the crowd funding and this is significant given negative stories about land issues in Zimbabwe,” Moyo told Business Weekly in an interview.
“This shows confidence among investors and it is a test case for us. I had a lot of road shows with potential investors asking if the land will not be taken over.
“I assured them that the environment has changed and their investments will be safe here.
“This shows the international community still have confidence in Zimbabwe; they still believe in Zimbabwe. We have now raised the money and what is left is to start the project.”
Moyo said the solar crowd funding is the largest so far in Africa. The first phase involves construction of a power station at park house in Marondera and at the farms in second phase.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Moyo said:” Congratulations to Sinogy for signing up with Sunexchage to start construction of the Nhimbe solar plant. We look forward for the completion of phase one in five months. What started as wishful thinking is now a reality.”
Zimbabwe is among few countries in Southern Africa with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic and is currently attracting investors in that sector. It has high solar radiation averaging 20MJ per square metre. ebusinessweekly