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Transforming Pretoria Boys High: Old Boy’s R2.8m Bitcoin Investment Powers Solar System Installation

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Crypto Investor Buys Solar System for Pretoria Boys High School Using Bitcoin

A crypto investor has used Bitcoin to buy his alma mater, Pretoria Boys High School a solar system worth R2.8 million.

A crypto investor has used Bitcoin to buy his alma mater, Pretoria Boys High School a solar system worth R2.8 million.

  • Pretoria Boys High is getting a new solar PV system that was funded by a Bitcoin investor.
  • The school will pay the investors based on the output of the solar panels.
  • The school’s headmaster said it will save on energy costs and did not have any initial capital expenditure.
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An investor, and Pretoria Boys High School (PBHS) old boy, used Bitcoin to buy a solar system worth R2.8 million for the school.

PBHS was crowdsourcing a solar PV system through the Sun Exchange platform, which enables organisations such as schools and businesses to get access to solar energy systems for no upfront capital cost.

The platform allows investors to crowdsource funding solar projects in exchange for a return on the investment from the customers who get the solar system installed.

Investments can be made in Bitcoin or standard currency.

Sun Exchange levies a R1.21 per kilowatt hour fee from customers and passes on a R0.88 per kilowatt hour return to investors after their service fee and insurance is deducted.

READ | Eskom releases statistics showing SA’s solar surge, but with a slightly misleading label

Greg Hassenkamp, the headmaster of PBHS, said that having the solar system would reduce the school’s energy costs.

“Clean energy will benefit our entire campus, including our classrooms, laboratories, and special venues. At the same time the project will reduce our energy costs and carbon footprint,” he said.

The investor will continue to earn money from the solar system for the next 20 years.

Sun Exchange CEO Saul Wainwright said that finding solar financing solutions was important to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels.

With the impacts of climate change becoming alarmingly real across the world, we must urgently scale solutions that address the solar finance gap for smaller solar projects in emerging markets, while also mitigating the energy crisis.

A Sun Exchange statement on the PBHS crowdsourcing said that the solar system would prevent 5,800 tonnes of carbon from going into the atmosphere, the equivalent of 210,000 petrol cars being off the road for one year.

PBHS is one of 34 schools that News24 is aware of that has completed a crowdsourcing project through Sun Exchange.

READ MORE | Load shedding: Western Cape schools turn to solar power

There has been a dramatic increase in the output of solar systems not contracted to Eskom over the last 18 months. 

An Eskom study estimates that between March 2022 and June 2023 there was an almost 350% increase in the maximum output of solar in South Africa that is not contracted to the utility.

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