Flower farms switch to solar energy as electricity prices soar
SCI & TECH
By Antony Gitonga | March 17th 2021
As the cost of electricity continues to rise, flower farms in Naivasha are shifting to solar energy in a bid to cut down on the cost of production.
The farmers have identified the high cost of electricity and frequent power outages as some of the major challenges currently facing the sector that rakes in billions of shillings every year.
This came as the experts warned that the cost of electricity could rise further following the move by Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to increase the prices of fuel by Sh7.
Naivasha based Shalimar flower farm has joined the list of farms using solar power by installing a system with a capacity of 428 kilowatts (kWp).
The solar system which has been installed by Redavia Solar Company makes it one of the largest solar farms in the region.
According to Srikanth Vadakattu, the Managing Director of East African Growers, the cost of electricity was a major contributor in flower production in the country.
“This plant is a game changer in flower production and we expect the cost of electricity to come down in the coming months,” he said.
While lauding the green energy technology, Vadakattu noted that this was the way to go for investments using a lot of electricity in their production.
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“We are happy with the expertise shown by Redavia staff in executing the solar plant and the financial terms are very encouraging during this difficult Covid-19 period,” he said.
On his part, Erwin Spolders the Chief Executive Officer of Redavia, noted that this was currently the biggest solar power plant that the company had developed in the country.
“The savings from solar will be a game changer for the horticultural sector because the cost of energy for greenhouses and pack houses make up a large part of operational costs in the sector,” he said
He added that the solar power plant leasing service by the company was rapidly gaining traction in the business world as consumers sought cheaper and reliable source of energy
“With just a minimal upfront investment, customers can reduce cost and increase operational flexibility through the use of such solar systems which are affordable,” he said.
He added that they had also deployed 99 kilowatts (kWp) rooftop solar unit at Wonder Feeds Limited in Nakuru which had seen the company record a reduction in operational costs.
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