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New Southern Energy Installs First Commercial Floating Solar Farm in Africa 

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African renewable energy company, New Southern Energy, has installed a state of the art microgrid solution at Marlenique Farm, owned by the Van der Merwe Family of the renowned Boplaas in Ceres. The farm is located just outside Franschoek. The farm produces export quality fruit and runs an award-winning wedding and function venue.
New Southern Energy Installs First Commercial Floating Solar Farm in Africa 
Courtesy of New Southern Energy

The floating solar system is the first commercially operational system to be installed in Africa and, at 60 kWp, it is by far the largest.

The solution includes, an internal AC reticulation upgrade and consolidation of connection points, installation of a backup generator to run the internal grid in the event of power outages, a 534 kWp ground mounted solar system, a 60 kWp floating solar system and provision for infrastructure to allow for battery system to be included during phase two to take the site completely off-grid.

French floating solar developers, Ciel & Terre, participated in the project. Of their contribution to the state-of-the-art system, Jack Setton, Ciel & Terre’s EMEA Business Developer, said, “We’re delighted to have delivered South Africa’s first commercial floating PV installation, in collaboration with Floating Solar PTY and New Southern Energy. Irrigation reservoirs like this one are perfect for solar projects, and we see great opportunities on the Western Cape’s countless dams, particularly for clients such as wineries or fruit growers.”

Floating Solar (Pty) Ltd, the distributors for the Ciel & Terre floating solar system in South Africa, was established in 2017 as a Floating Solar PV equipment provider and project developer.

On the completion of the system, their representative Peter Varndell said, “Congratulations to New Southern Energy for completing this first commercial scale Floating Solar plant in Africa. There is significant potential to replicate this technology in the African market where it can be used to provide clean energy for mining, industrial, agricultural, water treatment works, hydropower and reservoir sites.”

The project was financed through Nedbank Agriculture with the savings from the system allowing the farm to operate cash-flow positive from day one, while paying the asset off over 10 years. With a long-lasting life-space the benefits of the system will be passed on for generations to come.

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