In the second year after the foundation of the non-profit organisation FEED in Hamburg as well as its sister NGO FEED South Africa NPC in South Africa, the organisation has expanded and developed its sustainable projects: The fight against malnutrition of children in schools and kindergartens is still very much in the foreground. To this end, the SUNfarming Food & Energy facility in Potchefstroom in the North-West Province of South Africa trains children in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and also medicinal herbs, which in turn are mixed into a Vitality Porridge to offer the children a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals that supports healthy development and provides energy for active participation in school lessons.
In 2022 alone, FEED has been able to provide balanced nutrition to 15,327 children at 38 schools and nurseries and 83,000 family members within a 200km radius of Potchefstroom through funds raised by private donors and integrated into the DEG project led by SUNfarming. .
After two years, the school headmasters confirm a significantly increased presence of the children in class as well as more active cooperation of the children and thus better school results. Together with the partners, FEED has thus been able to create the basis for many children to receive a good basic education at school and a strong foundation for their further educational and hopefully professional path.
Furthermore, within the framework of new training measures in sustainable agriculture for socially weak people and inhabitants of the townships around Potchefstroom, 30 women in particular were newly trained and accompanied by FEED. These women live in remote regions, mostly without a job or other income, with their families and often several children. The gardening training introduces them to the cultivation of food for their own consumption, with the aim of gradually training them to become farmers who can earn money together as cooperatives by selling their products.
In total, FEED and the DEG project provided sustainable support to 674 women in 2022.
The FEED Team Germany and South Africa would like to thank all donors for supporting these important and holistic development aid projects. Please continue to support us!FEED
The plants are spread over five sites, each equipped with a battery storage system and separate circuit for independent and reliable power supply of the main consumers, e.g. for medical care centre. The plants were built at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and at the Centre for Atmospheric Research - National Space Research and Development Agency (CAR - NASRDA) in Abuja.
The YESPVNIGBEN research project is led by Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and funded by BAMF. On behalf of Forschungszentrum Jülich, SUNfarming has installed the training and research facilities as dual-use concepts "Food & Energy".
In addition to supplying energy, the facilities are used for research purposes. Professors at the university report: "Unfortunately, there is no proper electricity supply in Nsukka and the rest of the country. There are frequent power outages. The duration of the outages varies, sometimes it takes days. This is why obtaining important scientific data, in addition to the supply of electricity, is so important."
Other areas of research include
- Light transmission of the modules and effects on the cultivation of vegetables and herbs
- Temperature of the modules in connection with performance and service life
- A weather station measures the environmental parameters, the data is analysed online
All systems were assembled by local teams under the guidance of SUNfarming engineers. Necessary further assembly, repair and maintenance work will be carried out independently by these trained local employees in the future. Support from Germany is guaranteed at all times. To ensure operational safety, the entire system will be evaluated via a digital monitoring platform.
Several thousand farmers from Germany, but also from countries such as Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Canada and the USA - came to the SUNfarming stand to find out about Agri-PV solutions for both animals and special crops. More than 1,000 hectares of potential Agri-Solar areas were included in the early SUNfarming planning in Germany.
For more than 10 years, SUNfarming has been developing Agri-PV solutions with glass-glass modules and rainwater distribution system under the modules with its own engineers and has been researching them for many years in different developing countries of the world under extreme climatic conditions as well as with different types of plants. Due to the climate changes as well as the energy crisis in Germany, farmers from all over Germany and neighbouring countries were very interested in the SUNfarming solutions. They were particularly enthusiastic about the well thought-out solution for keeping animals on pastures protected by Agri-PV all year round.
Due to the rainwater separation and the semi-transparent modules, which allow approx. 15 % light to pass through, plant growth is ensured under the modules, CO2 remains in the soil due to the areal moisture distribution. The agricultural status of the land is maintained with SUNfarming Agri-PV. As a partner of the farmer, SUNfarming places particular emphasis on the agricultural concept, which is developed together with the farmer and his agricultural advisor. SUNfarming Agri-PV is ideally suited for areas with low soil points as well as arable land for special crops (fruit/vegetables) and for animal welfare-oriented livestock farming, as well as for moorland that is to be re-wetted.
As a contribution to the energy turnaround and energy supply with green photovoltaic electricity, SUNfarming is realising a photovoltaic plant on the 9-hectare site of the Ohmbach household waste landfill, which has been closed since 1 February 2022. With a module area of over 2.3 hectares, this is the largest open-space photovoltaic plant within the boundaries of the city of Pirmasens.
Andreas Flörchinger, Head of SUNfarming Project Development: "I am very pleased to be able to implement this project in my former home region of Palatinate, together with Ralf Gebhard, Head of SUNfarming South-West. The PV plant, which has been under construction since October 2022, offers an opportunity to create an additional use with added value for the environment and society on an ecologically damaged landfill site. The photovoltaic plant on the landfill site is scheduled for completion by March 2023. We at SUNfarming would like to express our gratitude for the very good cooperation with the city of Pirmasens."
Some facts about the plant:
- 2,470 t CO2 savings per year due to the photovoltaic plant Landfill Ohmbachtal, Pirmasens.
- 823 cars can offset their CO2 emissions with 20,000 km/year of driving or
- 2000 households can be supplied with 2,500 kWh/year of CO2-neutral PV electricity.
- Grid feed-in: approx. 5,083,440 kWh/year
Further ecological added value for biodiversity
- Flowering strips
- Honey production
- Cooperation with local beekeepers
- Food for insects
- Sheep grazing in cooperation with local shepherds
The Agri-Photovoltaic system consists of three tables, each 12.7 m(W) x 5.5 m (D), the total size of the system is about 200 m2. One table of the plant was aligned classically to the south and the other two tables to the east and west.
After the absolutely smooth installation of the plant on a field directly adjacent to the Hemp FARM, the areas were started to be covered with different crops in mid-May. The following selection was made: Artemisia was planted on one third of the area, some rows were planted outside in the open as comparative objects. On another third of the area, tomato plants of different varieties with different colours and sizes of fruits were placed. On the rest of the area, three different short-straw seed varieties of industrial hemp are growing, some rows planted with nettle and herbs.
"All the plants, without exception, have grown well and developed excellently. Seasonally, we are concerned with the mould resistance of the cannabis plants under the PV system. The time is now beginning when problems with mould often arise with the cannabis flowers and fruiting units outdoors because the moisture from precipitation is not dried by the sun. The rain protection for the plants provided by the PV system works wonderfully," explains Rafael Dulon, founder and managing director of Hanf Farm GmbH, enthusiastically.
Again and again, talks are held with interested farmers who come to see the plant. Mayors and community representatives of other municipalities inform themselves about the possibilities of agri-photovoltaics and its sustainable dual-use concepts.