The system is grid-connected and will shortly, in consultation with the local electricity provider Jirama, supply the city of Antsirabe with clean, renewable solar energy.
Gustav Radloff is the representative of the German photovoltaic company SUNfarming in South Africa and took part in the German Training Week (GTW) in 2019 of the project development program of the energy export initiative on project development in Botswana. In the interview, he reports on his experience and the added value of GTW for his company.
The German Training Weeks (GTWs) are multi-day training courses for energy experts in developing and emerging countries. The aim is to provide local energy experts from business and administration with the right tools for the successful development of high-quality renewable energy projects. German companies have the opportunity to participate as practical trainers.
What was your impression of the German Training Week in Botswana?
It was the first time that I participated in such an event. For me personally it was very helpful to get a good understanding of what the Botswana market looks like. Thanks to such a format, it is possible to get an idea of a country much faster and to see everything from the right perspective than if you tried it alone. This is where a group of crucial people, even from the Ministry of Energy, come together in one place and give important insights. If you come to the country alone, it is difficult to know who to meet, for example.
Was this your first time in Botswana?
No, I’ve been to Botswana several times because it borders South Africa and I work here. However, it is difficult to know what is really happening within a country in terms of specific regulations and their details, especially in the field of renewable energies. Some of the things we learned this week were a surprise for many participants.
What experience have you had with the Energy Export Initiative? Would you recommend participation to other companies?
It makes a lot of sense to take part in an event organized by the Energy Export Initiative because, among other things, a good way is to get to know many of the relevant actors in a particular country. Project development is interesting for us because we are project developers ourselves. We have found that it is very difficult in Africa to develop projects with good and strong local partners. We wanted to understand what is being done to support the development of project development skills in each country. I believe that this is a major obstacle to large-scale implementation and faster introduction of renewable energies. In our experience, the partners we could find have no understanding of the big picture that would be needed to develop a project. It is therefore good that the Energy Export Initiative offers a project development training program for these partners.
To what extent was participation in the GTW worthwhile for SUNfarming?
We were already talking to some people in Botswana and also some government people who were very interested. But now we understand much better what are the real goals or the steps we have to take if we want to achieve something. And we don’t need several months of our own working time to find out what I now know about the specific technical, economic and legal situation in Botswana.
Would you take part in a German Training Week again, for example in a different context or in a different country?
Even in countries where we have more networks and more knowledge, such an event is definitely worth attending again. People often make the mistake of thinking that if you do business in Africa, you do business in Africa. Few companies understand that each country is really unique. So if you do something in Botswana – even though it is only the neighboring country – it is completely different than doing something in Namibia, it is completely different than doing it in Zimbabwe … So I think that such an event is really helpful to provide additional perspectives to develop.
After several months of preparation, SUNfarming signed a PPA with the Togolese state on Thursday, January 16, 2020, for over 50 MWp Food & Energy plants. Installed on 2 x 50 hectares of land, the systems, in addition to supplying energy, are intended to help up to 50,000 people in the region receive training in the area of organic vegetable and egg production in the next 10 years. In addition, technicians are trained for the solar sector and the basics of electromobility are taught. Like in all other African countries, SUNfarming strives to actively involve GIZ and or KfW / DEG.
The SUNfarming Food & Energy facility will be the starting signal for a program to promote rural structural development in Togo. The partner in Togo is the CCIT (Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie du Togo, part of the Ministre du Commerce. It is responsible for the training and operation of the Food & Energy plants, under the guidance of SUNfarming. German storage and processing technologies in the field of vegetables and egg processing are as much part of the overall project as the production planning of e.g. tomato juice and ketchup to attract additional investors in these areas.
The SUNfarming Food & Energy concept can make a significant contribution to the success of the “Development Program in Rural Areas” planned by the Togolese government. In addition to a qualified workforce, this project also provides national and international investors with the energy they need to operate the processing plants that are to be built on site.
(Foto left to right:
Vice President CCIT Remie Moevi, President CCIT Germain Méba, Marc Bidamon, Energy Minister Togo, Peter Schrum, SUNfarming, Tiem Bolidja, Energy Ministry responsible for EE, Prinz Lorenzo Koageh Director SUNfarming Togo, Kossi Amétépé, CCIT 2. Vice President GLE.)
Before the laying of the foundation stone, Rt. Hon.Gen. (Rtd.) Moses Ali visited our Food & Energy Training Center at the North-West University in Potchefstroom in South Africa to see with his own eyes. The Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Energy of Uganda already visited us in November 2019 and reported to the Prime Minister. The delegation consisted of the family members of Hon Gen (Rt) Mosis Ali and Prince Kimbugwe.
After the Food & Energy visit we went to CFAM and introduced our partner in food processing.
The Prime Minister was very pleased about our technology and wants to have Food & Energy for Uganda.
An extract from our project proposal to the government of Uganda
The aim is that both the local partners and SUNfarming define the most suitable program for trainings. However, we would like to suggest the following program, as a start:
Module 1: Basic Knowledge Renewable Energy
Module 2: Design and installation of Photovoltaics systems
Module 3: Economic efficiency models for Photovoltaics systems
Module 4: Battery systems
Module 5: E-mobility
Module 6: Food & Energy – plants, greenhouse and free field systems
Module 7: Food & Energy- irrigation, fertilization, control, monitoring
Module 8: Operation, maintenance, monitoring systems.
SUNfarming will realize the first trainings under the Train-The-Trainer principle. Where the local trainers will be responsible to organize and continue with further trainings under the supervision of SUNfarming.
With Food & Energy, SUNfarming will establish a platform to develop several activities, where research is very important as the PV modules create a special environment under them that may not be suitable for some crops. Therefore, the main purpose of the research activities is to determine the most suitable crop for the local Food & Energy system and, in general, how to optimize agricultural production without compromising electricity production. Students that are carrying out their thesis or research groups can use the Food & Energy systems for experimentation and local professors would lead the research activities.
As in previous years, SUNfarming donates to Christmas for a non-profit organization. Through our Food & Energy project in Madagascar, we were made aware of the children’s aid project “Clair de Lune” by our local partners. 70 orphans or children from penniless families from 1 to 6 years of age are looked after by 3 employees every day and receive one hot meal a day – sometimes the only meal. SUNfarming will support this project in 2020 with a regular, monthly donation. For this year’s Christmas on December 18, the SUNfarmer and their families spontaneously collected and with the amount transferred, Christmas became a festival of joy for these children too.
In this spirit, we wish you and your families a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. Health, happiness and much success for the New Year – combined with our heartfelt thanks for your trust!
With festive greetings
Your SUNfarming Team
As part of the G20 initiative Compact with Africa (CwA), for the second time Chancellor Angela Merkel invited the twelve heads of state and government of the African Compact partner countries as well as South Africa to Berlin as G20 partner of the initiative for November 19, 2019.
On this occasion, the Africa Association of German Business, together with the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI), organizes the “G20 Investment Summit 2019 – German Business and the CwA Countries” in Berlin. The investor conference is under the patronage of Chancellor Dr. Ing. Angela Merkel. The Chancellor will take part in the conference together with her guests and open it up solemnly.
The conference is aimed at high-ranking representatives of German companies and their partners from the African CwA partner countries. The focus is on lighthouse projects of German companies and economic reform projects in the CwA countries.
The event will feature companies with Africa commitments – and those with investment projects in CwA countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia), but also with projects in other countries – the opportunity to position oneself in a high-level political environment with strong media support and to make current activities visible.
“We are pleased to be presenting our Food & Energy Training Project for Togo to such an important audience at the G20 Summit. After nearly 20 years of project experience in Africa, we can say that only in a politically stable country with the help of reliable local partners such as Prince Lorenzo of Togo, European technologies, PPP partnerships with industry and long-term and reliable project management are safe investments guaranteed, “explains Peter Schrum, founder and main shareholder of the SUNfarming Group.
“With the help of KfW / DEG and GIZ, Food & Energy has been further developed over the last 12 years as PP partnership projects, so that it is economically scalable and can now be reliably implemented in Togo at 60ha with 30 MWp of energy output. The project can provide training and a job for up to 30,000 people within just 10 years”, continues Peter Schrum.
More than 250 guests from politics, business and universities participated in the solemn laying of the foundation stone in Antsirabe on 19. October 2019.
The ceremony was opened with the speech of the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Blanche Nirina Richard and Minister of Energy Mr. Vonjy Andriamanga. The President of Madagascar, His Excellency Mr Andry Rajoelina, emphasized in his speech the great importance of the Food & Energy project for Madagascar, both to support the region in power generation and to educate people in the innovative areas of Food & Energy.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country’s economy is largely based on agriculture, mining, fishing and textile production. The average Madagascan earns only about US $ 1 per day and 70% of the Malagasy live below the World poverty line. Almost half of Madagascar’s children under five are malnourished. According to the WHO and UNICEF, access to clean drinking water is less than one in two islanders. About one third of the population are illiterate. Among other things food and oil are imported.
The first SUNfarming 5 MW Food & Energy Training Center on Madagascar offers highly interesting perspectives for development policy
5 megawatt Food & Energy Training Center on 10 ha means per year:
• 1,000 training places in organic farming and solar technology
• up to 500 tons of organic vegetables
• chicken breeding and egg production
• 9.0 million kWh of clean energy
• 7,500,000 kg CO2 savings
40 hectares of SUNfarming Food & Energy Trainigsanlagen are used 50% for the cultivation of vegetables.
For the power supply of the Institute of Antsirabe, SUNfarming will install a 10 kWp battery-powered island system.
For the first time, the classrooms used for lectures receive light and electricity.
The Food & Energy Training Center has great potential to train students and those interested in the following areas:
· Photovoltaics and self-sufficient energy technologies;
· Production of organic vegetables;
· Chicken farming and egg production
· Agricultural practices and technologies;
· Food processing and packaging;
· Food Marketing and Market Management;
· Aquaponics (Water and Hydroculture)
· Practical experience and competence development.
“We see the cooperation with the university as a development center for other universities and partners. We’ve signed a contract with the University of Madagascar and the Ministry of Education, “explains Peter Schrum, principal shareholder and founder of SUNfarming.
“SUNfarming will help train up to 20,000 students and apprentices in organic food and solar technology over the next 10 years.
“The benefits for citizens and communities are endless! This project offers a strong training component, sustainable food and energy production and job security for those who need it most,” adds Peter Schrum.
The big picture above shows the plant after the hurricane. The planting was completely destroyed by the storm. In the coming weeks, our team, together with our project partner Windsor High School, will start replanting and resume training.
“Dorian” – one of the strongest ever recorded tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean – caused storm surges with five and a half to seven meter high waves. The storm raged over the Bahamas for three days. Wind gusts reached speeds of up to 350 km / h. According to the Red Cross, about 13,000 houses were destroyed.
Every year, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean are hit by severe tropical storms. It is therefore essential for sustainable management that our training facilities withstand these catastrophes.
In the Bahamas, our hurricane resistant SUNfarming SP Food & Energy substructures and glass / glass solar panels with special fixings have proven this in an impressive way. The photos of our employees clearly show that the greenhouse design details of the Food & Energy training facility developed by SUNfarming rightly bears the title hurricane-resistant.
SUNfarming Hybrid Training Center in the Bahamas
The Hybrid Training Center will demonstrate the conditions for developing an economic model that will contribute to the independence of the Caribbean countries in relation to fossil fuels, the environment and the environment in a model facility dedicated to the topics of SF Food & Energy and fuel efficiency management at bioltec Improving the quality of life of their inhabitants.
Some benefits for society and the environment in numbers:
10,000 kWh of solar energy
10-15 kg of tomatoes per plant
Up to 90% water savings
40,000 kWh of electricity CHP
16,000 liters of UCO converted into biofuel
80,000 kWh of thermal energy CHP
40 t of CO2 savings
95% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil diesel
Typically 50% less toxic exhaust gases (with similar NOx)
Training in hydroponics, PV technology, electromobility and water saving in agriculture
Local and independent domestic food and energy production
The Caribbean region is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels to generate energy, resulting in higher CO2 emissions and electricity prices of up to 0.40 USD / kWh. These prices prevent growth in many economies in the region and lead to high business costs.
Another important issue in the Caribbean is food security, where up to 80% of the food consumed has been imported.
SUNfarming Agro-Solar greenhouses or as modified free-field plants and biofuels made of 100% waste oil (UCO) are combined to form a hybrid system. The same land area is used for the production of food, electricity and heat energy. Jobs will be created in agriculture and in renewable energies. At the same time it serves as a training center for students and interested locals for e.g. electromobility, photovoltaics and combined heat and power generation and form the technological basis for capacity building, research and technology transfer.
Emissions, energy and food costs are reduced, and future generations will be informed about the benefits of the hybrid system.