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A fruit farm just got off Eskom’s grid using a floating solar plant

| Going green

Marlenique, a fruit farm and wedding venue outside of Franschhoek in the Western Cape has unveiled a state of the art floating solar PV system.

Installed by New South Energy on the farm’s dam, the system is the first commercially operated floating solar system on the continent and is also the largest – producing 60kW of power.

The first phase of the project, which also includes a land-based solar installation on the farm, will allow the farm to run 90% of its energy-intensive cold storage, irrigation and wedding venue facilities off of the traditional electricity grid.

A second phase will see the installation of battery packs, taking the farm off the national grid completely.

Speaking at a launch event on the farm on Friday (1 March), the Western Cape’s Beverley Schäfer said that the system reduces the farm’s reliance on the electricity grid, and provides clean, affordable energy supply, while at the same time also reducing evaporation and saving water.

“The knock-on effect is that the business will save money in the long run, and create a business that is not only environmentally sustainable but financially sustainable as well,” she said.

“As the Western Cape Government, we have been urging businesses to take up solar PV as an alternative energy source.

“We’ve seen uptake grow from just 18MW in 2015 to 112 MW today, which reduces demand on the grid and helps to diversify our energy mix,” Schäfer said.

As part of the launch GreenCape, the Western Cape Government’s partner in developing the green sector has also published a brief on the solar industry, highlighting the various financing and incentive options available to businesses who are considering solar PV as an option.

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