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Williamson Tea

1MWp solar farm
Changoi, Bomet County, Kenya

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

The solar alternative “Our ministry is considering the introduction of net metering. fossil fuels are very expensive. causing climate change and hazardous weather.” 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. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm. first 10 years 600 14 12 Reducing electricity and diesel bills by using solar has a direct benefit to the bottom line. once a PV system is installed there are no on-going costs besides cleaning and inspection.Why did Williamson Tea choose solar? Costs In Kenya.15/kWh. depending on finance costs and radiation. 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. E lectricity Savings Solar G eneration 400 200 0 Like all renewable energy technologies the up-front investment is the major cost item. Over 25 years. clean and cost-effective. which is typical of many rural businesses. $ T housands 6 USD USD M illions 8 2 Davis Chirchir. 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. Second. but also uses on-site diesel generators during power cuts. Energy Secretary. However. no financing C ombined revenue and savings. Solar power is simple. first 10 years 1 500 Year 2 3 4 5 6 7 Year 400 6 Value of diesel electricity saved. 500 10 400 300 N et income C umulative balance 200 4 C umulative balance. 4 2 0 Value of grid electricity saved. Like many businesses. Solar power can be used to reduce the power demand on the grid. Third. The cost of grid power for businsses is $0. full 25 years. no financing 14 12 -4 C ombined revenue and savings. the sun’s energy is guaranteed as the sun shines every day. the cost of diesel is US $1 per litre (fuel costs per kWh of diesel-generated power can exceed US $0.000 units of electricity per annum. $ 100 -2 0 -4 1 Year 2 3 4 5 6 Year 7 8 9 10 8 9 10 . In the example below. with the price set to rise even further. 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. full 25 years.30 per kWh). with no upfront cost.10-0. improving profitability and gaining a competitive edge. the cost of power from a solar PV system is generally $0. There are three major issues which make this unsustainable. Williamson Tea is supplied with power from the grid. the business will save over $10m. and reduce the amount of diesel which is consumed by the on-site generators. C umulative balance. 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. Cost of energy is the most significant business expense. whilst reducing electricity bills. $ 100 0 -2 Value of di saved. 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. fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out. and will never run out. $ T housands 8 N et income 300 C umulative balance 200 USD USD 0 600 10 M illions Value of gr saved. First. Location Kenya is an ideal location for solar electricity.20 per kWh. so there is great potential to boost profits and give a competitive advantage. Unlike fossil fuels.600. The result is a 1MWp system that will produce 1. when burned they release large volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

inverters and cabling Project timeline Solarcentury was on site for just over two months. through March and April.April Installation of the PV modules. The official launch and connection to the grid took place in May 2014. safeguard the environment and enable Kenya to compete on the world stage.” Dr Christian Turner. 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. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm. the British High Commissioner to Kenya. Solar PV can help reduce costs. October Contract signed .

seen here. and then to use the same system to work in parallel with the standby generators. This kind of system. The control system manages the output from the solar PV system to ensure that the diesel generator operates at a minimum. the control system can be used to switch off the inverters when reverse power flow is about to happen. 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. 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 . 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. and ensuring the generator never runs below 35% part load. such as the one at Williamson Tea. and also so that the diesel generator can be deployed if loads rapidly increase or if clouds momentarily reduce the solar output.How the Changoi solar farm works Solar hybrid technology Dr Daniel Davies Director. East Africa New control strategies enable large solar PV systems. is known as a hybrid PV system. 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. Where local utilities do not allow reverse power flow into the distribution network. When the grid is available the PV operates in parallel with the grid. to be operated in parallel with diesel generators. which can damage the machinery. The hybrid technology means that solar PV systems can Solar with a standby generator run alongside diesel generators without the need for expensive batteries. which act as a back-up power source for when the sun isn’t shining.

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

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