New South Energy has installed the first commercially operated floating solar system in Africa at Marlenique Estate in Western Cape of South Africa.

According to a statement by the estate which is a fruit farm and also a wedding venue, the solar system was installed on the farms dam and can produce 60kW of power.

The system did not only generate renewable power for the farm, but also minimized evaporation from the farm’s dam while saving valuable agricultural land, the statement said.

Furthermore, Beverley Schäfer, the Western Cape MEC for Agriculture and Economic Opportunities added that provincial government had been encouraging businesses in the Western Cape for some time to use solar power as an alternative energy source.

“The system reduces the farm’s reliance on the electricity grid and provides clean, affordable energy supply, while at the same time also reducing evaporation and saving water,” Beverly said.

Beverly further added that this project had set out to find solutions for the sustainable management of water and electricity issues that were crucial for the agriculture sector and the economy.

The system will be used to power 90% of the energy-intensive cold storage facilities and irrigation, as well as the wedding venue, in conjunction with a land-based solar power plant on the farm.

The next phase of the project would involve the installation of battery packs, which would result in the farm going off the grid completely.

The business intentions are to save money in the long run and create an enterprise that is not only environmentally sustainable but financially sustainable as well.

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