24 July 2013 - The Timberlea Farming trust, known for its blueJay branded fruit, as well as its production of the locally distributed blueJay fresh juices has installed a 127 kWp, roof-mounted solar system. The group, comprised of nine farms across the Western Cape, produces in the region of 13,000 tonnes of stone, pome and citrus fruit per annum and are suppliers to well-known local retailers Woolworths as well as Marks & Spencer’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose internationally.

The farming consortium which trades under the brand, blueJay, has made considerable upgrades to its infrastructure as part of a commitment to sustainable business. In an effort to reduce energy consumption and save costs across all of its agricultural assets, Timberlea Farming Trust opted for the solar system installation at its farm just outside Stellenbosch.

“Energy reduction and efficiency management form a major part of our business functions, and we believe they are a definite contributor to our success in running a viable farming enterprise through these challenging times. We are aware that without implementing resource friendly initiatives, the future of not only our business, but the industry as a whole, could be affected, and it is due to this, that projects like these are key to us,” Sandra Jeffery, operations manager of the blueJay group says.

SolarWorld supplied its polycrystalline solar panels for the array spanning the multiple rooftops of the farm’s cold storage and packhouse facilities. The installation is expected to subsidise 30% of the farm’s total electrical output.

Apart from subsidising its electricity bill quite significantly, Timberlea Farming Trust is also able to fix the costs of the electricity generated by the solar installation and deal with a growing demand by end consumers for products with a lowered carbon footprint. Through this 127 kWp installation, Timberlea Farming Trust saves 213 tonnes of carbon per annum.