Farmers in South Africa have contributed immensely to the growth and development of South Africa.
Despite the hostility and challenging environment, they still carry out great innovative works in the continent.
Western Cape farmers have built Africa’s first commercial floating solar park – it now let’s them tackle load shedding and drought. They say it’s a better investment than a new orchard.
Found on the picturesque farm Marlenique Estate, just outside of Franschhoek, the floating solar park can produce 60 kilowatts of energy. The fruit farm is run by one of the oldest family businesses in South Africa, that stretches back generations.
This generation’s owner, Carl van der Merwe, is hellbent on sustainability.
He says the farm cannot afford to rely on Eskom to supply power. So they invested in solar power to keep the lights on and run their operations: that’s everything from irrigation pumps to packaging fruit for exports.
With the rising costs of farming, and the impact of the drought, Van der Merwe said building a floating solar park was a far better investment than investing in planting a new orchard.
“Our input costs and direct production cost escalates more than our sales (revenue) per year, therefore, to be sustainable we need to focus on keeping the running and direct cost as low as possible,” said Van der Merwe.