Caterserve powers up production with off-grid solar
The proof is in the pudding – or in this case the sauce! Many would doubt that a food manufacturer producing over 1 000 bottles of tomato sauce and mayonnaise daily could go off-grid and pay less for power.
Caterserve in Windhoek, Namibia, proves otherwise. SolarSaver, a provider of customised rooftop solar photovoltaic solutions in Namibia and South Africa, has installed a 200-kW battery-solar off-grid system, taking the manufacturer completely off-grid. Caterserve now runs 100% off solar power 24 hours a day and has been able to increase its production capacity.
With a unique model that offers zero installation costs, fully inclusive maintenance, monitoring and insurance, and flexible purchase rights, SolarSaver makes it possible for companies to rent the sun, paying only against the actual performance of the system and benefiting from the cheaper, greener power produced.
“We needed to upgrade our production line and found that we needed more power than the municipality could reliably provide,” says Nic Geldenhuys of Caterserve. “However, the cost of off-grid solar has previously been very high.
The solution from SolarSaver, which required no upfront capital investment on our part, was very appealing. We are running well on off-grid solar and have reduced our electricity costs. We also know the power costs that we’re in for over the next few years and can plan accordingly. Now, we can concentrate on producing our sauces, without worrying about a reliable power supply.”
Stefan Kleemann of SolarSaver masterminded the installation over a two month period. “To ensure we could reach 200KW to supply all the energy needs of the business, we installed 600 panels from Canadian Solar which have a 330W capacity each. An inverter with a 200kW capacity and a 300 kWh Lithium-Ion Battery Bank helped the business go off-grid through a hybrid battery and solar off-grid system.”
Kleemann notes that while photovoltaic hardware systems are long-lasting, the panels must be kept clean to ensure that the system operates at full capacity, which can be expensive and challenging. Results from SolarSaver installations concur with international studies that show solar panel output is boosted by up to 80% after professional cleaning. “The fact that we take care of all monitoring, cleaning and maintenance is a big win for clients. It makes sense for us to ensure that these systems are always operating at peak performance.”
It is expected that solar photovoltaic (PV) energy will be the fastest-growing renewable technology by 2022. “With electricity costs increasing, solar energy efficiency for businesses is a low-risk investment which yields substantial rewards. Manufacturing companies like Caterserve are increasingly turning to solar as a way to supplement energy needs, go green and bring costs down,” says Kleemann.
SolarSaver has completed over 150 installations in South Africa and Namibia to date, mostly for retail, manufacturing, agricultural, tourism and fuel businesses. The company is backed by investment from the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) and Stimulus Investments.