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Photovoltaic Rural - Agricultural

- Farmers and Subsistence Farmers


A dairy farm in the Karoo which has begun implementing PV and which will eventually be completely off-grid


Afri-Market has the most to offer to this market and the rural and agricultural power user has the most to gain from using renewable energy solutions. From past experience in the renewable energy space, we have found that it is always the rural and/or non-urban dweller that gets the short end of the stick when it comes to electricity supply. This apparently is normal practise for most agricultural holdings as it is claimed that outlying regions need more maintenance and infrastructure.

Recently we worked with a fruit farmer who was being "loadshedded" most days for a long time. This same farmer was also being charged for peak load (the most expensive tariff) 24 hours a day. After having initiating a full energy audit at this farm, we found that 60 -70% of the monthly overheads were attributed to electricity. Diesel generators were installed initially by this farmer to cover the daily "loadshedding" and while this is a relatively cheap (and handy) alternative to install, it was soon realised that the purchase of diesel was exponentially more expensive than the grid electricity itself (when it was available).

Every positive aspect of PV mentioned before under the various headings may be used and applied to the rural and/or non-urban power user. The "farmer" has plenty of space for a PV array, the energy required is generally used during daylight hours, so minimal battery storage is needed. All farms/ smallholdings require night time security lighting due to their susceptibility to intruders (and even dangerous animals in the bush areas). The first place to start is in installing solar hot water solutions for use by all staff, employees and owners. Water heating is usually the most energy intensive user of power, followed next by cooking appliances and then refrigeration and other large appliances. Farmers also rely heavily on all forms of pumps for various application. These may be powered using renewable energy solutions as well.

Please note that while running large current drawing farming equipment off of PV is not viable, 70-80 of all electricity usage can be substituted using renewable energy sources. Electric fencing, lighting, hot water, light machinery and of course office equipment, the list is endless in an agricultural environment. And most importantly PV is modular and batteries, inverters and PV modules can be increased in size year by year.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your solution.