SOUTH AFRICA – South African dairy farms, facing persistent power challenges from State-owned Eskom, are turning to solar solutions to secure a stable electricity supply and reduce operational costs.

SolarSaver, a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation company, has implemented hybrid systems with battery storage at Burnview Dairy and plans to enhance the Creighton Valley Cheese Company’s output by adding batteries to its existing grid-tied installation.

Creighton Valley Cheese Company owner, Hayden Stokes, emphasized the critical need for a consistent power supply to sustain daily operations, especially for milking machines and refrigeration units.

“The immediate success of SolarSaver’s grid-tied solar installation at Creighton Valley Cheese Company in 2020 prompted Stokes to invest in a hybrid solar and battery system at Burnview Dairy.”

He highlighted the impact of power outages on dairy farming, where interruptions can lead to decreased milk production and potential health issues for cows.

“The Creighton Valley region, relying on Eskom, faces challenges such as unstable power, voltage fluctuations, and load-shedding, resulting in substantial financial losses for dairy farms and cheese producers,” he said.

“SolarSaver’s installations aim to address these issues by providing a stable power supply, reducing electricity costs, and promoting environmental sustainability.”

Lance Green, SolarSaver’s Head of Sales, commended the initiative of Burnview Dairy and Creighton Valley Cheese Company, citing them as examples of how renewable energy can help farmers stay competitive amid power challenges.

SolarSaver has previously installed grid-tied and hybrid systems at various locations, totaling just under 700 kW. The company’s unique rent-to-own model offers grid-tied solutions without upfront capital costs, while clients pay only for the produced green power at rates lower than Eskom.

While grid-tied systems cater to daytime power needs, the addition of battery storage ensures an uninterrupted power supply, crucial for operations that run 24/7.

Green noted that given the extent of load shedding and the cost of generators, battery hybrid solutions make financial sense for businesses like dairy farms.

South African dairy farms are increasingly recognizing the benefits of solar innovation, not only as a means to cut costs but also to ensure a stable and sustainable power supply, contributing to the overall resilience of the local agricultural sector.

Subscribe to our food and agriculture industry email newsletters that provide busy executives like you with the latest news insights and trends from Africa and the World. SUBSCRIBE HERE