Globalfields case study

Investing in floating solar installations in Kenya

Rift Valley Roses is a family-run rose-growing business established in 2011. The company is located north of Nairobi near Lake Naivasha, on the Eastern slopes of the Great Rift Valley at an altitude of 2.250 meters above sea level, and employs approximately 400 workers. The location is ideal to produce a consistent high-quality batch of roses throughout the year. The maximum temperatures fluctuate between 25 and 30 degrees with cool night temperatures varying between 8 and 12 degrees.

Globalfields has been committed to investing in small-scale projects that support both clean energy generation and land sustainability. This is the second of four crowdfunding investments undertaken in May and June 2020 via ecoligo investments.

Rift Valley Roses is run by two brothers Gordon and Stuart Millar, who are from a third-generation Kenyan farming family originating from Scotland, with a wide experience of crop farming in East-Africa.

In the past few years, the farm has increased its efforts to mainstream both environmental and social sustainability across all its operations. In order to minimize the use of wood fuel and other non-renewable energy sources, in the last quarter of 2018, the farm installed 4 units of Biogas digesters for use as source of fuel in the staff canteen. The company runs a canteen that provides subsidized meals to its staff. The farm has a system of concrete lined drainages connected to greenhouse rain water gutter collectors. In addition, in 2018/2019 the farm put up additional rainwater collection dams to reduce reliance on boreholes for its water needs.

The current installation supported in this transaction is the second solar installation undertaken for the client, who already has an ecoligo 75 kWp solar farm project operating since 2019. In order to further increase the environmental sustainability of its operations, the company decided to install another solar PV system, which will be a floating installation on one of the two water reservoirs serving the farm. The project is a milestone for Kenya, as this is the first floating solar in the country.

The farm will remain connected to the national grid. The power generated is expected to be used fully on site, and it will not be fed into the electricity system. At night or during cloudy days, power will be taken from the grid.

The system will consist of 216 solar modules Eco 60M and four Kaco inverters. With a total capacity of 69 kWp and expected generation of 1.628 kWh/kWp/yr, or ca. 112 MWh in total, the new installation will further reduce the power generation cost of the company, and save 68 tons CO2/yr.

Lake Naiwasha

Floating solar has beneficial environmental impacts beyond CO2 reductions.First, utilizing water reservoirs means that valuable land is kept for agricultural use. Furthermore, covering the reservoir with solar modules is expected to reduce evaporation by up to 80%, reducing water wastage, and the cooling effect of the water will increase the efficiency of the solar modules, increasing power production by 10-15%.

The project directly supports the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals (SDGs), in particular SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy; and SDG 13: Climate action.

The financing for this project is done through ecoligo investments, which offers fully financed solar-as-a-service solutions for companies.  With a complete digital platform for fundraising and for development, ecoligo overcomes the typical barriers preventing this type of projects, such as lack of financing. As part of the package it offers companies low-cost solar energy and energy efficiency measures that enable them to grow and therefore strengthen the local economy. Payments are based on lease-for-service, with a performance guarantee. The farm operator has the right to purchase the solar installation after two years for a pre-agreed price.

The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, and the German Energy Agency DENA.

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This case study was written by Marta Simonetti, Founder and Managing Director of Globalfields. Visit Marta's bio or contact us today to discuss this project.

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