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SolarSaver adding battery energy storage to two dairies in Creighton Valley

The solar instllation at the Creighton Valley Cheese Company

The Creighton Valley Cheese Company

25th January 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) installation company SolarSaver has added batteries to the existing grid-tied installation at Burnview Dairy to create a hybrid system. It will also add batteries to the Creighton Valley Cheese Company's grid-tied installation to increase its output by 50 kW.

SolarSaver completed a grid-tied solar installation at the Creighton Valley Cheese Company during 2020.

Consistent supply of electricity is crucial for the seamless running of the dairy farms in the KwaZulu-Natal valley to power milking machines and refrigeration units.

The impact of the installation at the Creighton Valley Cheese Company was immediate and significant. This prompted Creighton Valley Cheese Company owner Hayden Stokes to install a hybrid solar and battery system at Burnview Dairy.

“Milk is perishable, and we risk losing thousands of litres of milk when outages occur. Loadshedding disrupts the daily routines of dairy farming. Dairy cows must be milked at regular intervals, and power outages can interrupt this process, leading to decreased milk production and potential health issues for the cows,” Stokes says.

The Creighton Valley region is powered by State-owned Eskom, and unstable power, voltage fluctuations and loadshedding have created ongoing challenges that result in significant financial losses and threaten the viability of these businesses.

The Creighton Valley Cheese Company processes about 70 000 ℓ of locally sourced milk daily, transforming it into 6 t of cheese. The process-intensive business relies on a considerable amount of power.

While grid-tied solar systems provide power during daylight hours, Stokes aimed to keep his businesses operational and productive 24/7.

“SolarSaver's installations have already made a huge difference to the farms in terms of electricity costs, having reliable, stable power, and reducing the impact on the environment. We needed to reduce our dependency on Eskom, and SolarSaver provides a scaleable solution,” Stokes says.

By ensuring a consistent, stable power supply, while reducing dependency on generators, solar installations are enabling farms to save costs and maintain production.

“Burnview Dairy and the Creighton Valley Cheese Company are great examples of how renewable energy can help farmers remain competitive as we work together to deal with power challenges and create a more sustainable future for South Africa,” says SolarSaver head of sales Lance Green.

Dairy farms and cheese producers, which have long been the backbone of the local economy in the lush landscape of Creighton Valley, are turning to solar power to reduce their electricity costs and ensure a stable power supply. Solar PV installations are making a significant difference to these farms by reducing electricity costs and ensuring a stable power supply, he adds.

SolarSaver has installed grid-tied and hybrid systems at Sunnyside Dairy, Vlei Villa, Twin Dams, Valhalla Dairy and Helston Farm, totalling just under 700 kW.

Grid-tied solutions are offered through the company's unique rent-to-own model, which enables solar PV systems to be installed at no capital cost while clients pay only for the green power produced at lower rates than Eskom. It also provides solar battery hybrid solutions for a set monthly fee or as a direct sale.

“While the rent-to-own grid-tied systems provide a powerful solution to save costs and provide greener power with no capital investment, we have found that, owing to the extent of loadshedding and the cost of generators, battery hybrid solutions can also make financial sense,” notes Green.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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