Flower farms in Naivasha are switching to solar power in a bid to cut down electricity costs. The farmers claim the high electricity costs have resulted in high production costs posing a challenge to the sector.
The move comes amid a warning from the Energy and Petroleum Regulation Authority which projected a rise in the price of fuel by Sh7.
Shalimar flower farm is following a precedent set by top Kenyan corporations by setting up a 428 Kilowatt (KWp) capacity solar system.
The solar system which is a project of Redavia Solar Company makes the farm among the largest projects in the region.
The Managing Director of East African Growers, Srikanth Vadakattu, said the cost of electricity was a major contributor to the level of production in the farms.
“This plant is a game changer in flower production and we expect the cost of electricity to come down in the coming months,” he said.
He lauded the adoption of green technology saying this was the way to go especially in industries with heavy electricity usage.
“We are happy with the expertise shown by Redavia staff in executing the solar plant and the financial terms are very encouraging during this difficult Covid-19 period,” he said.
Erwin Spolders the Chief Executive Officer of Redavia also commented on the project, terming it as the biggest solar power plant developed in the country currently.
“The savings from solar will be a game changer for the horticultural sector because the cost of energy for greenhouses and pack houses make up a large part of operational costs in the sector,” he said.
He added that more commercial enterprises were opting for cheaper and more reliable sources of energy such as solar energy.
“With just a minimal upfront investment, customers can reduce cost and increase operational flexibility through the use of such solar systems which are affordable,” he said.
Redavia has already deployed 99 kilowatts (kWp) rooftop solar unit at Wonder Feeds Limited in Nakuru. The company has reportedly recorded a reduction in cost of operations.
Last year, the media was awash with reports of a mass exodus to solar power. Corporate heavyweights that make up a big portion of the industrial consumers sought to adapt to solar power citing unreliability and high bills from Kenya Power.