‘Solar orchards’ might alleviate South Africa’s electricity problems

Building solar plants could end the problem of electricity shortages in South Africa’s fruit bowl, the Ceres Valley.  Innovative local grower Ian Versfeld is the brains behind a new, so-called ‘solar orchard’  after installing the plant at his farm.

The facility at his Vadersgawe farm is a much bigger capacity than what the grower needs, so he can feed the excess power back into the grid. Installation of the system that includes 630 (360W each) solar panels, producing up to 226,8 kWp DC power, was completed in 2020. The system can produce up to 376,882 kWh per year.

The entire community now has more power to draw from and is less vulnerable to load-shedding. Additionally, the staff on the farm are supplied with free electricity.

“Using the solar plant to produce our electricity, I’m experiencing a much more stable internal network. The Solar Edge technology makes monitoring and fault finding easy,” Versfeld told cajnewsafrica.com.

David Masureik from New Southern Energy, the company that designed and installed the solar farm, said the project was an excellent example of a grid tied system that would benefit a whole area: “Mr Versfeld was wise to choose the best technology available to maximize the production of the system throughout its lifetime.”



Photo source: Dreamstime.com

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