The pilot project is located in the Zambian province of Chisamba, and was planned, financed and installed by Baywa, who handed ownership over to the Agricultural Knowledge and Training Center, a department of Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture.
The plant will supply power for the irrigation of 90,000m² of agricultural land for up to 13 hours at a time. The system features a 160kWg battery storage system, as well as an intelligent control system which allows for the water reservoir to be used for additional storage. This way, the farm is independent of the public grid from 7am until 7pm.
“Especially in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, farmers depend on reliable and continuous electricity availability,” says Tobias Kriete, Regional Manager Africa at BayWa e.e Solar Projects. “We can reliably supply energy regardless of the connection to the public grid.”
BayWa r.e. will continue the plant’s performance from Germany, and is involved in the training of local farmers and electricians, so that they can take over maintenance of the system in the future.
With the completion of its first project in Africa, BayWa r.e. stated that it has plans for further growth – though no further project details were given. “We see great potential throughout the region for the implementation of further on and off-grid projects,” said Managing Director of Solar Projects Christof Thannbichler. “We will significantly expand our involvement on the African continent, and are already planning other similar projects.”
Zambia’s solar deployments have begun to pick up in 2017, as the country announced a 500 MW tender for PV earlier in the year, and received funding from a German development bank for the implementation of a FIT program.