In South Africa's Western Cape, a fruit farm just outside of Franschhoek has unveiled a 60kWp floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
The system has been installed by New Southern Energy on the farm’s dam, helping to generate clean energy, while also minimising evaporation from the farm’s dam and saving valuable agricultural land.
The system is the first commercially operated floating solar system on the continent, and at 60kWp, it is also the largest. Read more: Developing floating solar PV markets
The first phase of the project, which also includes a land-based solar installation on the farm, will allow the farm to run 90% of its energy intensive cold storage, irrigation and wedding venue facilities off of the traditional electricity grid.
A second phase which will see the installation of battery packs, will remove them from the grid completely.
Speaking at a launch event on the farm on Friday, Minister Beverley Schäfer said: “This project has looked at some of the key issues sustainability issues we are facing in agriculture and the economy today- water and energy- and has attempted to find solutions.
"The system reduces the farm’s reliance on the electricity
She added: "The
The farm's financial director Carl van der Merwe said the installation would reduce their carbon footprint by half.
“Marlenique farm is the highest energy user in our portfolio. We are aiming to be 100% green through solar energy solutions across our entire portfolio in the near future.”
Minister Schäfer said: “As the Western Cape Government we have been urging businesses to take up solar PV as an alternative energy source. We’ve seen uptake grow from just 18MW in 2015 to 112 MW today, which reduces demand on the grid and helps to diversify our energy mix. We are pleased to see businesses like Marlenique responding to our call to invest in resilience in such an innovative way.”
CEO of New Southern Energy David Masureik commended Boplaas for being innovators in the agricultural sector and said: “I would also like to thank the government for their interest in solutions that will inevitably encourage the sector to thrive.
"Without the support and encouragement from national and local government for industry to become more sustainable and independent in terms of power solutions, our business would not exist. We are honoured to take part in positive change happening across the public and private sector.”