Williamson Tea

1MWp solar farm
Changoi, Bomet County, Kenya

the solar power system will work in parallel with the grid and reduce the amount of grid electricity imported. Bomet County Size 1 MWp Annual generation 1. . negating the need for batteries.000 tonnes East Africa’s largest solar farm Williamson Tea’s solar photovoltaic (PV) system is nestled amongst the hills in the Kericho District of Kenya. When the grid is unavailable. They chose solar since it’s a clean and sustainable energy source which will enable the company to significantly reduce its spend on non-renewable energy such as diesel.000 kWh Lifetime CO2 savings 30. The solar PV system at Changoi is one of only six systems in the world using this technology. Owned and funded by Williamson Tea. the solar power system will work together with the standby diesel generators. significantly reducing the amount of diesel consumed. The design enables the solar power system to operate in parallel with a standby generator and creates a stable power supply. When the national grid is working.Location Changoi. farms and other businesses in locations where grid power is unstable and standby generators are relied on for power. it is the largest solar installation in East Africa. Solarcentury designed a solar PV system to provide approximately 30% of the tea factory’s electricity needs. This makes solar an economically viable solution for many factories. a publicly listed company in Kenya.600. and lower its carbon footprint. Williamson Tea is forward thinking and committed to sustainable farming and creating a greener future for tea production in Kenya.

fossil fuels are very expensive. first 10 years 1 500 Year 2 3 4 5 6 7 Year 400 6 Value of diesel electricity saved. the sun’s energy is guaranteed as the sun shines every day.” Load/Demand 1200 00:00 00:30 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00 23:30 00:00 The world is currently highly dependent on fossil fuels for energy. Unlike fossil fuels.10-0. The cost of grid power for businsses is $0. being on the equator where the sun is high in the sky all day provides great conditions for getting the most out of a solar system. Williamson Tea is supplied with power from the grid. Cost of energy is the most significant business expense. Purchase from utility 600 The solar PV system will also support the grid by improving the power factor of the factory and providing voltage support at the end of the supply line. PV + G rid 1400 In comparison. 4 2 0 Value of grid electricity saved.Why did Williamson Tea choose solar? Costs In Kenya.15/kWh. the business will save over $10m. no financing C ombined revenue and savings. $ 100 -2 0 -4 1 Year 2 3 4 5 6 Year 7 8 9 10 8 9 10 . $ 100 0 -2 Value of di saved. the cost of diesel is US $1 per litre (fuel costs per kWh of diesel-generated power can exceed US $0. but also uses on-site diesel generators during power cuts. first 10 years 600 14 12 Reducing electricity and diesel bills by using solar has a direct benefit to the bottom line. Over 25 years. clean and cost-effective. we sized a solar system to be as large as possible but limited the size so that the business owner would be able to make use of all the electricity produced. Third. 1000 kW 800 Adding a solar PV system to the local network to offset diesel and grid consumption will significantly reduce overall energy bills for Williamson Tea. Second. The result is a 1MWp system that will produce 1. whilst reducing electricity bills. C umulative balance. full 25 years. E lectricity Savings Solar G eneration 400 200 0 Like all renewable energy technologies the up-front investment is the major cost item. which is typical of many rural businesses. with no upfront cost. full 25 years. improving profitability and gaining a competitive edge. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm. $ T housands 8 N et income 300 C umulative balance 200 USD USD 0 600 10 M illions Value of gr saved. First. Solar power can be used to reduce the power demand on the grid. fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out. The solar alternative “Our ministry is considering the introduction of net metering. with the price set to rise even further. causing climate change and hazardous weather. Energy Secretary. once a PV system is installed there are no on-going costs besides cleaning and inspection. Solar power is simple. when burned they release large volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere. no financing 14 12 -4 C ombined revenue and savings. However. There are three major issues which make this unsustainable.30 per kWh). the cost of power from a solar PV system is generally $0. $ T housands 6 USD USD M illions 8 2 Davis Chirchir. Like many businesses. In the example below.20 per kWh. and reduce the amount of diesel which is consumed by the on-site generators. Location Kenya is an ideal location for solar electricity. which allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid.000 units of electricity per annum.600. depending on finance costs and radiation. so there is great potential to boost profits and give a competitive advantage. 500 10 400 300 N et income C umulative balance 200 4 C umulative balance. and will never run out.

Solar PV can help reduce costs. inverters and cabling Project timeline Solarcentury was on site for just over two months. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm. October Contract signed .” Dr Christian Turner. through March and April. safeguard the environment and enable Kenya to compete on the world stage. May The hybrid system is installed (read more overleaf) March The solar PV construction begins Ths system is commissioned and launched February Tea cleared and site prepared “This innovative low carbon solar power solution is a perfect example of the multiple benefits that can be achieved by Britain and Kenya working together.April Installation of the PV modules. The official launch and connection to the grid took place in May 2014. the British High Commissioner to Kenya.

and also so that the diesel generator can be deployed if loads rapidly increase or if clouds momentarily reduce the solar output. East Africa New control strategies enable large solar PV systems. to be operated in parallel with diesel generators. The hybrid technology means that solar PV systems can Solar with a standby generator run alongside diesel generators without the need for expensive batteries. Operating solar PV systems alongside diesel generators presents a number of challenges including ensuring a stable power supply with the solar PV operating in parallel with the generator. which can damage the machinery. When the grid is available the PV operates in parallel with the grid. This reduces fuel consumption without removing the essential back-up of the diesel generator for night-time operation or when the sun is not shining. and then to use the same system to work in parallel with the standby generators. is known as a hybrid PV system. Where local utilities do not allow reverse power flow into the distribution network. such as the one at Williamson Tea. the control system can be used to switch off the inverters when reverse power flow is about to happen. One of the most common hybrid applications is where solar PV is being used to reduce the off-take from the public grid in places with expensive and intermittent power. The control system manages the output from the solar PV system to ensure that the diesel generator operates at a minimum. Solar working in parallel with the grid or diesel: M Grid Loads Utility electricity meter Changeover switch Diesel generator F Cost of diesel generated electricity Main distribution board Solar generation meter G DC to AC inverter Solar generator . which act as a back-up power source for when the sun isn’t shining. This kind of system. and ensuring the generator never runs below 35% part load.How the Changoi solar farm works Solar hybrid technology Dr Daniel Davies Director. seen here.

since the employees don’t have to spend so much on kerosene. Ghana. The clean solar electricity generated by the solar home systems reduces the employees’ consumption of costly kerosene which gives off fumes that can cause health problems. Solar home lights – the facts: • • • • eliable. and as well as large-scale utility power systems. Provide instant light in remote rural areas the electricity grid might never reach.About Solarcentury Solarcentury is one of the most respected solar companies in the world. solar PV can benefit those using domestic energy. We have worked with the Kenya Renewable Energy Association on the initial draft on a set of Kenyan PV Installation Guidelines. and offices in Germany. R Charge during the day to give clean. it has been around since the early days of the solar industry and has been part of the evolution that has made PV the attractive investment it is today. We were then contracted to do the detailed system design and installation and will be operating and maintaining the site. using solar electricity rather than kerosene means employees can read. safe and cost-effective. Research in 2012 by SolarAid. Solarcentury were the designers. South Africa. We developed the concept design during the early phase of the project and supported the developers with designs and system modelling. Solarcentury is proud to have completed this registration process and carries the ERC C1 Licence. The Netherlands. study. and Latin American countries. The development of standards for training and regulation of suppliers and installers is key to building a safe and reliable solar industry. . suppliers and installation contractors. Dr Dan Davies based in Nairobi. Here at Changoi. found that families in Kenya using solar lights reduce kerosene use by an average of 77% and save £74 per year. as well as charge their mobile phones and listen to the radio. ERC. Greg Barker during his tour of the solar farm in April 2014. We are excited about the opportunity to work with the various renewable energy stakeholders in Kenya. Our business is global and growing. this has been recognised by the Kenyan Energy Regulator the Energy Regulatory Commission. Kenya. Solar home systems Solar is flexible. Dr Davies is one of the few solar engineers in Kenya to hold a T3 Solar Technician Licence. Do not require costly installation or maintenance. the charity founded by Solarcentury. These simple. As well as reducing the risk of fire. who have imposed a requirement for those companies selling and installing solar sytsems to be licenced. winning multiple awards for its project and product innovation. including the world’s largest solar bridge in London. Solarcentury was pleased to donate solar home systems to several employees living at the farm at Williamson Tea. It makes financial sense too. The Kenyan Association of Manufacturers is now developing this with the assistance of UK Department for International Development. Blackfriars. Solarcentury has put solar on a greater variety of sites than any other company in the industry. Founded in 1998. effective solar PV systems were formally presented to the employees by the UK Minister of Energy and Climate Change. Kenya. and do sewing or other income generating activities in the evenings. with our headquarters in London UK. whose homes are not connected to grid power. Solarcentury in East Africa is headed up by one of Solarcentury’s founders. free light at night.

com Solarcentury is in business for a purpose to make a big difference in the fight against climate change through widespread adoption of solar power. Kenya . the charity we founded. which aims to eradicate kerosene lamps from Africa by 2020. Marula Lane. Registered in Kenya no. Karen. Marula Manor. and we contribute 5% of our net profits every year to SolarAid.com Visit www.solarcentury. We are a big believer in helping solar change our world for the better. Kenya SCK007-0514 Solarcentury East Africa Ltd. Nairobi. 00509.Find out more Call +254 (0)701 918683 Email internationalenquiries@solarcentury. CPR/2013/109535 PO Box 15097. Nairobi.