SUNfarming Food & Energy Training Centre is one of their key partners in cooperation with the North-West University in South Africa.
The North-West University (NWU) launched the Leopards Lair competition which received a large number of entries of which 12 finalists could exhibit their ideas to the public and industry partners at NWU Sethi Explosion. NWU student Kumbewe Liwewe, the founder of “Let´s Grow Together” has won the Award for best entrepreneurship/business idea.
The “Let’s Grow Together” initiative was launched by students of the North-West University (NWU) to address the issue of food insecurity on the campus by creating jobs for students in need of financial assistance.
“This is done by providing the campus of the NWU with fresh fruit and vegetables on a weekly basis. From the packing of vegetables, to the transport and delivery of vegetables “Let’s Grow Together” is able to create student jobs in everything we do. This however would not have been possible without the assistance of SUNfarming and the NWU’s Food & Energy Training Centre, who were vital to the conceptualization and initiation of “Let’s Grow Together”, said Kumbewe Liwewe.
The presence of the SUNfarming Food & Energy Training Centre creates a valuable resource for the students of the North-West University as through the presence of high quality food produced on the university campus is used to end food insecurity on the campus. This key partnership we believe will lead to the creation of at least fifty (50) on campus student jobs with the possibility of growth only limited by what is available with the existing Food & Energy infrastructure.
Video-Link: Interview with Kumbewe Liwewe
Another SUNfarming solar park was successfully completed in Mühlenbeck in the Oberhavel region.
“Mühlenbeck” is a solar park of superlatives: on an area of 55,000 m² on the former landfill, 12,048 solar modules of the type SUNfarming SF-AT235-60P with 260 and 265 Wp power were installed. The SUNfarming quality modules and inverters used are all “Made in Germany”. The energy produced in this way of 3,229,800 kWh can supply 1,000 2-person households with clean solar power in the year. In addition, SUNfarming is contributing around 1,937.511 kg of CO2 emissions this year, which corresponds to the output of approximately 750 medium-class cars.
Up to 50 fitters and technicians have carried out a “small miracle” and rammed up to 5000 posts, sometimes up to 1.20 m deep, into the ground, 516 “tables” and the modules were mounted.
SUNfarming invests 3.5 million euros from planning to completion of the plant. The leasing contract for the landfill site is over 20 years with an extension option of 5 years.
„Thanks to the good cooperation of politics, management and the executive companies the solar park could be established in record time“, said Managing Director Martin Tauschke. This excellent teamwork was also necessary, since plants of this size will no longer be possible from 2017, according to lawmakers. The upper limit will then be 0.75 MW. 3 days before Christmas 2016 the building permission was granted.
For the building authority manager Hans-Werner Labitzki the use of the landfill site is a sensible and sustainable after-use, valuable agricultural areas are spared. Furthermore, the safety fence built around the solar system prevents the possibility that wild boars could exploit old rubbish, as happened in the past.
Mayor Fillipo Smaldino-Stattaus is also pleased with the completion of the plant:
“The municipality’s trade tax revenues are rising and the municipality is saving the costs of securing and maintaining the area. Again, a puzzle piece has been found on the way to the green community of Mühlenbecker Land “.
The use of near-natural sheep grazing as a nursing procedure complies with our ecological principles and is highly accepted by the population.
Since 2016 we have been using sheep herds to graze our solar parks in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A requirement for the functioning of the solar modules is the prevention of shading caused by plant growth. The regular care of the vegetation by sheep grazing prevents shading of the modules.In contrast to mechanical mowing, there is no dust development or damage caused by stone impact. The shepherd’s checks at irregular times also reduce the risk of theft.
The shepherd also benefits from this safe pasture, which is already provided with fencing. The modules are a good shade dispenser and draft shield and the substructures offer retreats for lambing sheep. The surfaces are unloaded since no fertilizers and pesticides are used.
The nature conservation association welcomes the double use of the land, the extensive grazing has positive effects on the biodiversity, through the practiced change of the pasture the sheep serve other animal and plant species as means of transport and thus increase the biodiversity. Due to the good experiences with this environmentally friendly and gentle care of the areas our sheep are now also in Falkensee in Brandenburg -the sheep seem to like it.
For the first time, SUNfarming has applied for an Intersolar Award, the greater the jubilation was to win the Award in the category “Outstanding Solar Projects”.
The jury was impressed by the global development potential as well as the great social benefits, including the creation of new jobs. With the aim of producing food and energy economically, while at the same time resource-saving in one and the same place, 15 agro-solar greenhouses have been built on the campus of North-West University in South Africa. The project shows how photovoltaics are integrated into agro-solar substructures of large food and energy systems. With its professional knowledge the North-West University is an indispensable, operational partner in the Food & Energy project.
The Intersolar Award: Powering the future with innovation!
In the 2017 jubilee year, 133 projects from 21 countries were sent for the coveted Intersolar Award. One of Intersolar’s goals is to promote the industry’s innovative power. For this reason the organizers award the award every year. For 10 years, the world’s largest solar energy company has offered solar companies a unique platform to demonstrate their innovative power and to stand out from the competition.
Peter Schrum, principal shareholder of SUNfarming, thanks his project partners (DEG / KfW and North-West University) and his team with a call: “To multiply Food & Energy also in other countries, we need technically savvy Senior Experts who do not want to retire and want to share their knowledge with others. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. ”
David Morr, SUNfarming Projectmanager International Projects, to the question whether the project is also a matter of heart: “This is the madness! For 5 years we are fighting for our product Food & Energy to carry it out into the world and now to receive an Award is simply top.”
Mr. Senzeni Zokwana, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa, together with a 30-member delegation, visited SUNfarming Food & Energy Project on the Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom South Africa.
The Minister calls the SUNfarming Food & Energy Project, a joint project of SUNfarming GmbH, North-West University and DEG / KfW on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a future-oriented development for agriculture in South Africa.
SUNfarming Food & Energy Project allows to produce food and solar energy at the same time through unique agro-solar greenhouses. Training in food production with water-saving droplet irrigation creates sustainable jobs. The Food & Energy Project is the first of its kind in Africa and the goal of SUNfarming and the NWU is to bring this project to all universities and schools in Africa. SUNfarming and the NWU see themselves as a nucleus to support other universities in research and education with their expertise.
Councillor Kgotso Khumalo Executive Mayor for Tlokwe municipality: “I am excited about the project and the potential it has for our municipality and I want to pledge our full support to this project.”
“The project provides an opportunity to grow affordable and nutritious food in local municipalities. This is an opportunity to effectively address household food and nutrition insecurity. This is innovative technology for agriculture and we want to see this replicated in other parts of the country as it effectively deals with the issue of climate change and the scarcity of water and land”, said Minister Zokwana.
“Agriculture is the answer to many problems. We need a doctor or dentist or lawyer several times a year, but we need a farmer at least three times a day. We need to strive for sustainable methods of agricultural production. What I have seen today is the future of agriculture, I congratulate you on this incredible initiative and innovation,” so Zokwana.
We would like to welcome you to our stand in Hall 3, A3.354
This year, SUNfarming presented itself as a partner, together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), to the 400,000 trade fair visitors.
The general interest in SUNfarming as a project developer for capital investors as well as in the realization and active support of PV projects for commercial and private power plants was as always great. This year, we were able to successfully present our unique “Food & Energy” concept, a combination of solar energy production and food production. With the
experience of more than 1,000 hectares of solar projects implemented worldwide, SUNfarming developed the unique Food & Energy concept. In addition to the benefits of solar energy, the key elements are food production, job creation, training and water management. The SUNfarming “5 in 1” model contributes actively to the sustainable improvement of people’s living conditions, particularly in resource-poor areas or refugee regions.
Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller, has put more support in the refugee policy for the countries of origin and was very interested in finding out more about our Food & Energy concept.
Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, showed also great interest in cooperation in the area of Food & Energy as an approach to combating the causes of flight. There will also be concrete discussions on projects in the solar PV sector in developing and emerging countries.
The Minister of the Environment of Qatar and the Agricultural Minister of Mauritius took the opportunity to get information about possibilities of cooperating with our competent project leaders.
Madagascar’s Embassy Adviser, the Ambassador of Guatemala and the Bolivian Ambassador, as well as a delegation from the Nigerian Embassy, were also interested guests.
Representing the Embassy of Paraguay, Mr Maidana, responsible for Economic Affairs, visited us and the embassy council of the Republic of El Salvador also got to know our stand.
The already implemented Food & Energy project in South Africa was presented by SUNfarming at the public event “A world without hunger is possible”, a special initiative of the BMZ.
At the head of a business delegation, Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs Albrecht Gerber and the Managing Director of ZAB ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg, Sebastian Saule, visited Lima (Peru). Other members of the delegation included Meike Stockbrügger, external economist at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy Brandenburg and Jörg Ranau, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Peru / Lima.
A special focus here was on Gerber’s expansion of renewable energies. Innovative technologies and commitment are necessary to stop climate change. Brandenburg companies like SUNfarming, can contribute their decades of experience and expertise in the field of renewable energies.
Already since 2015, SUNfarming, together with the Peruvian training organization SENATI and the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), has been running a PV training facility on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development The SENATI site in Lima, Peru. 80 Electrical engineers have been successfully trained at the Solar Training Center.
A further meeting of the economic delegation took place with Peruvian representatives of the SUNfarming subsidiary together with the Peruvian Agriculture Minister Jose Manuel Hernandez. The most important topic here was the latest SUNfarming project “Food & Energy”.
Based on our own developments, SUNfarming has developed a unique agro-solar substructure for greenhouses. The roof is partially covered with solar modules for energy production. This unique combination ensures effective food production and a sustainable energy supply through PV. The benefits for citizens and municipalities are endless. The project offers a broad participation of municipalities with long-term property, sustainable food and energy production and job security with a strong training component.
1. Green energy production
2. Food production
5. Water management
SUNfarming Food & Energy offers the unique possibility of double surface use. In addition to solar energy production, food is being grown under the modules to supply the local population.
Minister Jose Manuel Hernandez and delegation delegates from Brandenburg also showed great interest in this second project, which was developed by SUNfarming. Further discussions are planned on a possible cooperation.
SUNfarming/ALENSYS and the North-West University celebrated the opening of the first Food & Energy Training Centre in South Africa.
The 12th of October was an exciting day for SUNfarming/ALENSYS and our partners. Together with more than 150 guests from all over Africa, including stakeholders from politics, business and universities, the opening session was held on the Campus of the North-West University in Potchefstroom.
After Prof Frika J van Rendsburg, Rector of the NWU cut the ribbon, the guests were invited to visit the solar green-houses accompanied by trainers, explaining the project and answering questions.
In his speech Prof LJ Grobler, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering especially emphasized the function of the NWU as a renewable research and development university towards sustainable communities. “We as a University form the basis of education and from here we can replicate it to other Universities and other regions through agreements between our university and other universities”, so Prof LJ Grobler.
“The students that have been trained here at our first and unique Food & Energy Training Centre can help us to roll out the investments to the rest of Africa. We see the cooperation with the NWU as a development nucleus for other universities and partners”, said Peter Schrum, main shareholder and founder of SUNfarming, in his speech to the audience. “The benefits for citizens and local government are endless! This project will facilitate broad base community participation with long-term ownership, sustainable Food & Energy production and job security benefits with a strong training component to those who need it most,” Schrum adds.
Interesting videos and articles published after the opening:
North-West University video: Communities to benefit from farming with the sun
Article in Bloemfontein Courant: SUNfarming Food & Energy
Article in New Age Daily Newspaper: SUNfarming initiative will provide food and energy
SUNfarming designed and installed a high quality 130kWp grid tied system at Pick & Pay Potchefstroom, one of the leading supply chain supermarkets in South Africa. SUNfarming used a designed methodology to maximize the yield output by elevating the solar modules. Elevated modules not only ensure optimal irradiation and effective ventilation under the panels, it also minimizes the maintenance cost during the life time of the system.
The system produces an average 10% more than pre-calculated. During the last four months, Pick & Pay saved 86 MWh of electricity with an overall reduction in consumption of 18%. During the lifetime of the system the client will generate a return of approximately more than 20% on the cash flow saving of this initiative.
The saving benefit per year is about R340.000 with a 6 year payback period.