A prominent citrus producer and exporter in South Africa has turned to captive solar power to reduce its dependence on the country’s failing energy system.
Eden Fruit is a long-established farming operation based in Blyde River Valley in the Limpopo Province. The company exports its produce across the world, from Mumbai to Montreal. In recent years, however, Eden Fruit has seen its operations severely affected by national utility Eskom’s loadshedding regime, which has led to a significant increase in the use of diesel gensets to keep up with production demands and an additional R200,000 per month in fuel costs.
To counter the impact of loadshedding, Eden Fruit approached Spark Energy Services (Spark)’s development partner Renen Energy Services Limited to install an additional 102kWp rooftop solar array to its packhouse operations, which already has a grid-tied array with a previous supplier. In addition, Renen has integrated a 500kWh battery storage system, which will enable the facility to run fully off-grid in the event of loadshedding.
The installation, including securing the funding, took about three months to complete and is now providing the business with the reliable energy supply it needs to get back to full capacity while delivering approximately 20% savings on its electricity costs at the same time. The business will make further savings on its reduced reliance on diesel for back-up power. The panels are also helping Eden Fruit contribute to a greener future by generating an estimated 266MWh of clean power annually, leading to 285 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being avoided.
“Loadshedding is having a crippling effect on many agricultural clients and other types of business in South Africa, but it doesn’t need to be that way,” said Adam Fitzwilliam, who heads up the Spark team at Camco.
"Eden Fruit decided to take control of its power needs with this project and can now enjoy a much more reliable power supply as a result, giving it the edge on its competitors while curbing its carbon emissions and doing something positive for the environment at the same time.”
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