40 year anniversay
SOLARWORLD Africa supplies Southern Africa’s largest rooftop solar energy system to agricultural sector 31.12

SOLARWORLD Africa (Pty) Ltd., together with EPC partner African Technical Innovations (Pty) Ltd., has commenced supply and installation of Southern Africa’s largest agricultural rooftop photovoltaic system (1015 MWp) for Ceres Fruit Growers (Pty) Ltd.

The 4060 SW250 SOLARWORLD polycrystalline panels are being installed on four north-facing roofs of Ceres Fruit Growers’ coldrooms. The SOLARWORLD system will supply Ceres Fruit Growers’ electrical grid with power to be largely consumed by the refrigeration compressor rooms during peak season.

“An installation of this size is testament to the strong move from the South African agri-sector towards the use of sustainable and renewable energy sources. The solar installation contributes not only to a reduced carbon footprint but also results in considerable savings in energy purchases for Ceres Fruit Growers”, says Kobus Engelbrecht, African Technical Innovations’ Managing Director.

Ceres Fruit Growers handles more than 110000 tons of apples and pears annually, with cooling, packing and marketing carried out according to client requirements and specifications. The premises span an area of over 54 hectares and consist of more than 100 cold stores.

“The major reason influencing our decision to install a renewable energy solution of this size was to fix a part of our electricity costs when faced with expected electricity tariff increases in the future. We purchase our electricity from the local municipality which is supplied by Eskom. On 28 February 2013, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) announced that Eskom’s electricity tariffs will increase by 8% per annum. However the individual tariff increases by Eskom and the municipality suggest an average increase of at least 11% for our business. Taking into account the fact that our operations consume approximately 29700 MWh of electricity annually, this will result in considerable savings for us”, says Francois Malan, Ceres Fruit Growers’ Managing Director.

This solar system will generate approximately 6% (1690 MWh) of Ceres Fruit Growers’ annual electricity consumption, reducing their carbon footprint by approximately 1622 tons per annum over the next 25 years and more. In addition, Ceres Fruit Growers’ Sustainability Policy places great emphasis on exploring new technologies that will reduce energy usage with the goal of reducing their energy consumption by 10% over the next three years.

“This 1 MWp photovoltaic system is the largest of its kind in the Southern African agricultural sector and marks an industry milestone. Agri-business is starting to see the long-term advantages of investment in renewables through the environmental and economic benefits. With electricity tariffs increasing annually, it makes economic sense for businesses such as Ceres Fruit Growers to explore solar power in order to fix their electricity costs for the next 25 years and longer”, says Gregor Küpper, SOLARWORLD Africa’s Managing Director.



Installation of 10.8 kWp Mono Black Moduls at Private Luxuary Camp in Kruger National Park 31.12

Private luxury Lodge situated in the far northern area of the Kruger National Game Park. The camp has all the luxuries of high end modern living homes, consists of four modern luxury “tents” all equipped with the latest LED lighting, ceiling fans with automated blinds to form the 3 remaining walls. Sleeps a maximum of 8 persons, 2 per lodge.

The main lounge is equipped with a fine bar with fridges plus coffee makers and ceiling fans as well as LED lighting. Fully equipped Kitchen to prepare light lunches and snacks outside of the main meal times which are prepared by the main larger lodge. Lapa with a medium sized swimming Pool which is powered by a standard pool pump and salt water chlorinator. The drinking water is supplied from a bore hole, stored into 20 000 litres of tanks which also has a pressure pump to maintain pipe pressure. The 10.08 kW Solar system and 55 kWh Aquion Hybrid Ion battery run camp entirely with the back up support of the 32 kVa generator. The battery storage installed has been sized to comfortably support the loads during overcast conditions before getting assistance from the generator.


Plant Size:

Information on the plant:

Location: Kruger National Park
Operator: Private
Planning and realisation: Solarsun Solutions (pty) ltd
Suppliers and support: SolarWorld and Sonx Energy

Equipment Installed:

SolarWorld Powers Grootbos Foundation, Non-Profit Organisation in Western Cape 31.12

SolarWorld, by way of its distribution partner and project implementer Solek, supplied a solar electricity system to the Grootbos Foundation, a non-profit organisation in the Western Cape. The project forms part of their aim to reduce their carbon footprint and costs, as well as to conserve the environment.

Leading global solar PV manufacturer, SolarWorld, donated the solar system whilst Solek provided a free of charge installation and engineering expertise. “This donation assists the Grootbos Foundation in its continued work towards our vision and brings us closer to living our commitment to sustainability and conservation”, says Julie Cheetham, Grootbos Foundation Managing Director.

The project includes a 5kWp solar system, which will generate sufficient energy ensuring the NPO has a fixed monthly electricity cost. Apart from assisting the Grootbos Foundation in saving on their electricity bill, the project contributes to conserving the environment, which forms part of their vision.

Gregor Kuepper, Managing Director of SolarWorld Africa explains, “Our commitment to sustainability begins on the inside. It starts with how we manufacture our products, choose our materials and treat our employees, then it extends to the communities we serve. Our commitment encompasses both economic and social sustainability which includes our factories, suppliers and employees.  It is part of our identity and this is what sets SolarWorld apart from the rest of the solar manufacturing industry”.

“Partnering and long-term relations with well-established solar companies have always been a key strategy. Our collaboration with SolarWorld on this project has proven successful and we look forward to building on past success and continue to collaborate in the future”, says Hannes Van Zyl, Solek Managing Director.

The Grootbos Foundation solar system is operative and will generate clean renewable energy for the training centre for 25 years and more. “We are extremely proud of our new environmentally friendly, energy efficient office and training facility which is complete with a brand new solar system and we are extremely grateful to SolarWorld and Solek Innovations”, concludes Cheetham.

Napoleon’s place of exile gets solar: Solar energy by SolarWorld on St Helena connection to the grid of 500 kWp solar systems 31.12

Going forward, the island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean will now be able to supply more than a third of its energy needs from renewable sources. SolarWorld has provided the modules for the two largest solar power plants on the island. St Helena became famous as the place of exile of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today the island near the west coast of Africa formally belongs to the UK. Following the installation of SolarWorld photovoltaic modules, the island now has the highest proportion of wind and solar energy feeding into the grid out of all regions in the UK.

Due to increased energy costs and a high dependency on imports, the local utility company Connect Saint Helena Ltd. (CSH) started to convert electricity generation from diesel to renewable energy resources. Approximately 2,300 SolarWorld modules will now produce clean solar power on the island. Through the use of solar power around 300,000 liters of diesel can be saved each year. Like many small islands, St Helena has mainly relied on diesel generators for power generation in the past.

The long term solar initiative was launched three years ago: In 2012, one of SolarWorld’s partners, Sustainable Power Solutions (Pty) Ltd. (SPS), an engineering, procurement and construction company, was appointed by CSH to design and install the first solar power plant as part of a pilot project on the island. In 2013 and 2014, further projects followed, including a rooftop system, which supplies the local power station. This year, Sustainable Power Solutions was appointed by CSH once again to design and build a large ground-mounted system using SolarWorld modules, adding another 500 kWp of renewable energy to the grid.

„We are pleased that SolarWorld has been selected as supplier to St Helena. In such projects, all depends on quality, durability and weather resistance. If you want to be on the safe side, SolarWorld quality is key,“ said Gregor Küpper, Managing Director of SOLARWORLD Africa (Pty) Ltd. For years, SolarWorld has been present in the South African market, with its products made in Germany and made in USA. In Sub- Saharan Africa, the company is one of the most successful solar module manufacturers in the region.

SolarWorld Africa installs Western Cape’s first PV system at produce cooling facility 31.12

SolarWorld together with installation partner, African Technical Innovation, supplied and installed the Western Cape’s first and largest roof-mounted photovolataic (PV) system to date in the agricultural sector at the Ceres Koelkamers. A pioneer in the agricultural sector, the fruit and vegetable cooling facility in Ceres, saw the installation of 508 kWp completed in record speed between 1 December 2012 and 17 January 2013.

SolarWorld supplied 2117 SW240 poly PV panels for the array spanning two cold storage buildings covering an area of approximately xxxm2. The installation is expected to generate 840 000kWh per year of power for the cold storage facilities to refrigerate harvested produce. The facility consumes around 5 000 000kWh per year and the installation will save the facility up to 20% of their annual electricity bill and off-set the carbon emissions by 839.52 tons of CO2per year for more than twenty-five years.

“SolarWorld is the preferred supplier for Deutsche Bank solar projects. This means the meeting of strict financial key performance indicators, i.e. Watt output per square metre, kWh/kWp. With expected yields of 80-85% of irradiation, our clients can be sure that their investment delivers feasible ROI,” says Gregor Kuepper, SolarWorld Africa’s Managing Director.

Ceres Koelkamers made this landmark decision to opt for solar power as opposed to wind and hydropower for the reason that the region does not have water or wind in great supply, however sunshine hours are high. In addition, the period when the greatest cooling is required is the exact same time as when the region receives its highest irradiation, namely summer.

“We felt that somebody had to take the risk and we were brave enough to do it first. Ceres Koelkamers is confident that we will be in business for longer than the next 30 years and have faith in the South African agricultural industry, and for this reason we are investing in high quality products with a long lifespan which have the capacity to produce electricity for 25–30 years and more. We could have built another koelkamer with the funds or saved on our annual electricity bill for the next 25 years and more and the decision was made to save electricity,” says Francis Matthee, Managing Director of Ceres Koelkamers.

Kobus Engelbrecht, General Manager of African Technical Innovation who installed the system advised Ceres Koelkamers on the business case behind the solar system: “We wanted to get the best product at the lowest prices, with a 25 year guarantee in order to justify the capital investment. With the best quality product on the market, SolarWorld still presented the best financial case as well,” adds Engelbrecht. The project was subsidised within the Government’s Integrated Demand Management (IDM) Programme. The programme’s focus is to ensure short-term security of electricity supply through coordinating and consolidating the various initiatives aimed at optimising energy use and balancing electricity supply and demand.