agrivoltaic plant for clean solar power
An agrivoltaic (or agriphotovoltaic) plant. Image from Fraunhofer ISE via Twitter.

FTC Solar has announced it has been awarded a project to provide clean solar power for the teachers and students at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) campus.

FTC Solar is a global provider of solar tracker systems, software and engineering services. The project will use FTC Solar’s latest Voyager+ tracker solution to create an agrivoltaic plant – an area of land developed to be used for both solar photovoltaic power and agricultural purposes. This is the company’s first project in Africa since entering the market earlier this year.

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FTC Solar’s Voyager+ tracker solution uses a two-panel-in-portrait design which, according to the company, allows for quick installation times. The approximately 1MW project was developed by AAAS Energy in conjunction with BUAN, with the last mile development and EPC works being undertaken by Soventix, South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Head of Sales and Marketing at FTC Solar, Ali Mortazavi said they are pleased to announce the first of what they expect will be many projects in Africa for FTC Solar. “This exciting FTC Solar opportunity represents our initial project on the continent and our first with Soventix, a strong global EPC company with a growing pipeline. The project, on the beautiful Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus, will provide clean solar power for teachers and students working to advance the sciences and local quality of life.”

The stated long-term goals of the agrivoltaic plant are to find sustainable solutions for climate resilient practices associated with the concept of growing crops in the harsh African climate while mitigating risks associated with agriculture by generating power that can be sold to create a constant revenue stream. The power produced will be cheaper and support research and data collection with regards to the agrivoltaic concept. The project is expected to begin generating power in early 2022.

Soventix Managing Director for Southern Africa, Jean-Paul de Villers: “We are looking forward to working with FTC Solar on this project that features a strong environmental and social component, that specifically supports the university and their research in addressing two of the greatest concerns on the African continent – food security and energy. FTC Solar’s differentiated tracker solution and customer-focused approach is a perfect fit for this project.”  

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With the African solar market expected to install more than 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2030, according to a September 2021 Wood Mackenzie report, this project provides FTC Solar with the opportunity to successfully enter a growing market.