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.
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.