The Grobia facility is located near the town of Sierakow, which is known for its extensive leisure infrastructure and has numerous tourist resorts on the Jaroszewskie and Lutomskie lakes. The patronage city of Sierakow is the city of Schönberg in Germany.
The second investment is the Wolkowe A project (0.999 MW), which was built in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship in central Poland.
The Polish auction system for the award of contracts and a domestic policy based on renewable energies enable SUNfarming as a medium-sized company to support the expansion of renewable energies and to make profitable investments in Poland.
Photovoltaics is becoming more and more important among renewable energy sources in Poland, as it is the cheapest energy that can be obtained with existing technologies. In addition, the use of fallow land and soils with poor soil quality protects agricultural arable land.
On an area of 25,000 square meters, the latest SUNfarming Food & Energy Training Center offers highly interesting prospects for the region in terms of development policy. Near the Syrian border, connected to the Cevdetiye refugee camp in Osmaniye, thousands of refugees and people from the region will find training and work in the coming years.
“Our goal is 1000 certified participants in Food & Energy by the end of November 2020, explains Peter Schrum, founder of the SUNfarming Group and main shareholder. “The aim of the project is to train entrepreneurs in the organic food sector and as photovoltaic technicians for renewable energies. This Food & Energy Training Project is intended to serve as a blue print for further development investments in Turkey and Syria in the future. The project is helping Syria and Turkey as well“, so Peter Schrum continues.
SUNfarming Food & Energy is a PPP project in cooperation with DEG / KfW.
Our PV open space systems offer many plants and animals urgently needed living space that has been lost due to intensively used agricultural areas. Our perennial wild herb meadows make an important contribution to promoting biodiversity.According to the Biodiversity Council, the extinction of pollinator insects threatens global food production with a value of 235 to 577 billion dollars per year. Out of 8 million insects, 1 million are threatened with extinction.
Extensive permanent green areas are created under the modules of our PV open-air systems, offering habitats for many animal and plant species that have already disappeared from intensively used agricultural areas. More insects mean more breeding birds. Here you can find food and e.g. Also sitting on the module rows and security fences. We do not fertilize or use any pesticides and there is also no machine tillage, factors that can negatively influence the fertility of the soil and the water balance. At the same time, the wild herb meadows promote humus formation, and the humus in turn binds carbon dioxide (CO2).
We work together with shepherds who like to use the fenced PV systems for their sheep. This summer there are 1200 sheep that keep the vegetation between the module rows short. The security fence offers protection from wolves. The module rows also offer weather protection in the rain or provide shade in summer.
“We are delighted that despite the restrictions associated with the corona pandemic, we are contributing to clean energy supplies in Poland with two additional megawatt PV systems. Despite the difficult communication, the professional and intensive cooperation of everyone involved made this possible", explains Martin Tauschke, Managing Director of SUNfarming GmbH and SUNfarming Polska sp.z.o.o..
The Polish auctioning system of procurement and an internal policy based on renewable energies allow SUNfarming as a medium-sized company to support the expansion of renewable energies and to make profitable investments in Poland. SUNfarming started the construction of the first 4 megawatt solar parks in Poland at the end of December 2018. By winning the tender, all PV parks benefit from a 15-year "contract for differences" with the Polish Energy Agency URE, which guarantees a fixed feed-in tariff for each kWh produced by paying the difference to the market price.
Photovoltaics is becoming increasingly important among renewable energy sources in Poland as it is the cheapest energy that can be obtained with existing technologies. In addition, the use of fallow land and soils with low soil quality spares agricultural arable land.
The system is grid-connected and will shortly, in consultation with the local electricity provider Jirama, supply the city of Antsirabe with clean, renewable solar energy.
Gustav Radloff is the representative of the German photovoltaic company SUNfarming in South Africa and took part in the German Training Week (GTW) in 2019 of the project development program of the energy export initiative on project development in Botswana. In the interview, he reports on his experience and the added value of GTW for his company.
The German Training Weeks (GTWs) are multi-day training courses for energy experts in developing and emerging countries. The aim is to provide local energy experts from business and administration with the right tools for the successful development of high-quality renewable energy projects. German companies have the opportunity to participate as practical trainers.
What was your impression of the German Training Week in Botswana?
It was the first time that I participated in such an event. For me personally it was very helpful to get a good understanding of what the Botswana market looks like. Thanks to such a format, it is possible to get an idea of a country much faster and to see everything from the right perspective than if you tried it alone. This is where a group of crucial people, even from the Ministry of Energy, come together in one place and give important insights. If you come to the country alone, it is difficult to know who to meet, for example.
Was this your first time in Botswana?
No, I've been to Botswana several times because it borders South Africa and I work here. However, it is difficult to know what is really happening within a country in terms of specific regulations and their details, especially in the field of renewable energies. Some of the things we learned this week were a surprise for many participants.
What experience have you had with the Energy Export Initiative? Would you recommend participation to other companies?
It makes a lot of sense to take part in an event organized by the Energy Export Initiative because, among other things, a good way is to get to know many of the relevant actors in a particular country. Project development is interesting for us because we are project developers ourselves. We have found that it is very difficult in Africa to develop projects with good and strong local partners. We wanted to understand what is being done to support the development of project development skills in each country. I believe that this is a major obstacle to large-scale implementation and faster introduction of renewable energies. In our experience, the partners we could find have no understanding of the big picture that would be needed to develop a project. It is therefore good that the Energy Export Initiative offers a project development training program for these partners.
To what extent was participation in the GTW worthwhile for SUNfarming?
We were already talking to some people in Botswana and also some government people who were very interested. But now we understand much better what are the real goals or the steps we have to take if we want to achieve something. And we don't need several months of our own working time to find out what I now know about the specific technical, economic and legal situation in Botswana.
Would you take part in a German Training Week again, for example in a different context or in a different country?
Even in countries where we have more networks and more knowledge, such an event is definitely worth attending again. People often make the mistake of thinking that if you do business in Africa, you do business in Africa. Few companies understand that each country is really unique. So if you do something in Botswana - even though it is only the neighboring country - it is completely different than doing something in Namibia, it is completely different than doing it in Zimbabwe ... So I think that such an event is really helpful to provide additional perspectives to develop.