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Williamson Tea

1MWp solar farm
Changoi, Bomet County, Kenya

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. 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. it is the largest solar installation in East Africa. This makes solar an economically viable solution for many factories. the solar power system will work together with the standby diesel generators. farms and other businesses in locations where grid power is unstable and standby generators are relied on for power. and lower its carbon footprint. a publicly listed company in 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. Bomet County Size 1 MWp Annual generation 1.000 kWh Lifetime CO2 savings 30. Williamson Tea is forward thinking and committed to sustainable farming and creating a greener future for tea production in Kenya.600. 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. The solar PV system at Changoi is one of only six systems in the world using this technology. negating the need for batteries. Solarcentury designed a solar PV system to provide approximately 30% of the tea factory’s electricity needs.Location Changoi. When the national grid is working.

In the example below. Over 25 years.15/kWh. There are three major issues which make this unsustainable. depending on finance costs and radiation. 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. C umulative balance. Energy Secretary. so there is great potential to boost profits and give a competitive advantage. First. the cost of diesel is US $1 per litre (fuel costs per kWh of diesel-generated power can exceed US $0. with the price set to rise even further. but also uses on-site diesel generators during power cuts. $ T housands 8 N et income 300 C umulative balance 200 USD USD 0 600 10 M illions Value of gr saved. the sun’s energy is guaranteed as the sun shines every day. when burned they release large volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere. and reduce the amount of diesel which is consumed by the on-site generators. and will never run out.600. fossil fuels are very expensive. Williamson Tea is supplied with power from the grid. 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. 4 2 0 Value of grid electricity saved. Location Kenya is an ideal location for solar electricity. clean and cost-effective. PV + G rid 1400 In comparison. The solar alternative “Our ministry is considering the introduction of net metering. improving profitability and gaining a competitive edge. no financing C ombined revenue and savings. 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. 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. 500 10 400 300 N et income C umulative balance 200 4 C umulative balance. 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. first 10 years 600 14 12 Reducing electricity and diesel bills by using solar has a direct benefit to the bottom line. Cost of energy is the most significant business expense.10-0. the business will save over $10m. fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out. full 25 years. full 25 years. causing climate change and hazardous weather.20 per kWh. once a PV system is installed there are no on-going costs besides cleaning and inspection. $ 100 -2 0 -4 1 Year 2 3 4 5 6 Year 7 8 9 10 8 9 10 .30 per kWh). Unlike fossil fuels. E lectricity Savings Solar G eneration 400 200 0 Like all renewable energy technologies the up-front investment is the major cost item. no financing 14 12 -4 C ombined revenue and savings. The cost of grid power for businsses is $0. $ 100 0 -2 Value of di saved. The result is a 1MWp system that will produce 1. $ T housands 6 USD USD M illions 8 2 Davis Chirchir. the cost of power from a solar PV system is generally $0. Second.” 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. However. Solar power can be used to reduce the power demand on the grid. whilst reducing electricity bills. with no upfront cost.Why did Williamson Tea choose solar? Costs In Kenya. Third. Solar power is simple. first 10 years 1 500 Year 2 3 4 5 6 7 Year 400 6 Value of diesel electricity saved. Like many businesses. which is typical of many rural businesses.000 units of electricity per annum. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm.

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. inverters and cabling Project timeline Solarcentury was on site for just over two months.” Dr Christian Turner. Solar PV can help reduce costs. speaking at the launch of Williamson Tea solar farm. through March and April. October Contract signed . 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. the British High Commissioner to Kenya.April Installation of the PV modules.

The control system manages the output from the solar PV system to ensure that the diesel generator operates at a minimum. 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. This kind of system. seen here. is known as a hybrid PV system. the control system can be used to switch off the inverters when reverse power flow is about to happen. 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 . 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.How the Changoi solar farm works Solar hybrid technology Dr Daniel Davies Director. which can damage the machinery. and ensuring the generator never runs below 35% part load. to be operated in parallel with diesel generators. Where local utilities do not allow reverse power flow into the distribution network. 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. When the grid is available the PV operates in parallel with the grid. such as the one at Williamson Tea. and then to use the same system to work in parallel with the standby generators. East Africa New control strategies enable large solar PV systems. 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. and also so that the diesel generator can be deployed if loads rapidly increase or if clouds momentarily reduce the solar output.

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

Registered in Kenya no. Marula Lane.solarcentury.Find out more Call +254 (0)701 918683 Email internationalenquiries@solarcentury. Nairobi. Kenya . the charity we founded. 00509. Karen. CPR/2013/109535 PO Box 15097. which aims to eradicate kerosene lamps from Africa by 2020. Nairobi. Kenya SCK007-0514 Solarcentury East Africa Ltd. and we contribute 5% of our net profits every year to SolarAid. 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. Marula Visit www.