The SUNfarming/Alensys Solar Training Center South Africa is now in operation since more than 5 years and was realised within a PPP Public Private Partnership program supported by the German DEG/KfW. The most important partner is the North-West University in Potchefstroom.
The SUNfarming Solar Food & Energy Training Centre, already in the 3rd year of operation after completion of the Public Private Partnership, offers training opportunities for students, electricians, teachers from high schools as well as start-up companies and municipal representatives from different regions and departments in South Africa. The training centre, continuously in further expansion for more training opportunities, is in full time operation and delivers fresh vegetables to the North West University Campus, a food store in Potchefstroom (Pick&Pay) as well as several catering service companies.
All SF bio food products with grade A quality are supplied to the prime quality customer Pick&Pay, all secondary quality products are directly marketed by the local SUNfarming trainees and employees in the township locations of Potchefstroom. With this, the employees earn some extra money and thus become small entrepreneurs, partially with own employers already.
The training facility was transferred to our expert skills transfer company SUNCybernetics PTY LTD (SUNCy), under the lead of North West University doctoral student Faure van Schalkwyk. This training company is exclusively used for know-how and skills transfer in the fields of solar technology and food production, operating on a cost covering, non-profit base to ensure constant high quality trainings.
After 6 years of experience, we can confirm the effectiveness of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) with its cooperative structures like DEG/KfW, and German Medium Size Companies, like SUNfarming and Alensys, for a continuous education and training program, as long as the PPP investment is kept in the hand of the German Medium Size Company.
More than 1,000 training sessions have been held so far at the SF Solar Training Center and SF Food & Energy Training Center for participants from across Africa.
Please see our first Solar Training Center marketing video and what participants say:
Newest marketing video Solar Training Center South Africa
Technical and agriculture teaching staff of the correctional services from all over South Africa attended the course.
„The participants were very satisfied with the course and some even stated that it was one of the best courses they attended and the wish there was more of these types of training. They feel now they will be able to make a big difference when going back to home/work,“ says Faure van Schalkwyk, Energy Research Engineer & Trainer.
Xoli Phillips recommends SUNfarming Food & Energy:
"Food & Energy is an excellent opportunity our youth must grap with both hands. It is the best training I have ever attended. Training was so exciting and prepared us for the future. Thanks to all the facilitators who made the training so easy to understand. So professional and well versed with the course. It is much appreciated…keep up the excellent work."
Mr. Senzeni Zokwana, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa, together with a 30-member delegation, visited SUNfarming Food & Energy Project on the Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom South Africa.
The Minister calls the SUNfarming Food & Energy Project, a joint project of SUNfarming GmbH, North-West University and DEG / KfW on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a future-oriented development for agriculture in South Africa.
SUNfarming Food & Energy Project allows to produce food and solar energy at the same time through unique agro-solar greenhouses. Training in food production with water-saving droplet irrigation creates sustainable jobs. The Food & Energy Project is the first of its kind in Africa and the goal of SUNfarming and the NWU is to bring this project to all universities and schools in Africa. SUNfarming and the NWU see themselves as a nucleus to support other universities in research and education with their expertise.
Councillor Kgotso Khumalo Executive Mayor for Tlokwe municipality: “I am excited about the project and the potential it has for our municipality and I want to pledge our full support to this project."
“The project provides an opportunity to grow affordable and nutritious food in local municipalities. This is an opportunity to effectively address household food and nutrition insecurity. This is innovative technology for agriculture and we want to see this replicated in other parts of the country as it effectively deals with the issue of climate change and the scarcity of water and land", said Minister Zokwana.
"Agriculture is the answer to many problems. We need a doctor or dentist or lawyer several times a year, but we need a farmer at least three times a day. We need to strive for sustainable methods of agricultural production. What I have seen today is the future of agriculture, I congratulate you on this incredible initiative and innovation," so Zokwana.
This year, SUNfarming presented itself as a partner, together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), to the 400,000 trade fair visitors.
The general interest in SUNfarming as a project developer for capital investors as well as in the realization and active support of PV projects for commercial and private power plants was as always great. This year, we were able to successfully present our unique "Food & Energy" concept, a combination of solar energy production and food production. With the
experience of more than 1,000 hectares of solar projects implemented worldwide, SUNfarming developed the unique Food & Energy concept. In addition to the benefits of solar energy, the key elements are food production, job creation, training and water management. The SUNfarming "5 in 1" model contributes actively to the sustainable improvement of people's living conditions, particularly in resource-poor areas or refugee regions.
Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller, has put more support in the refugee policy for the countries of origin and was very interested in finding out more about our Food & Energy concept.
Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, showed also great interest in cooperation in the area of Food & Energy as an approach to combating the causes of flight. There will also be concrete discussions on projects in the solar PV sector in developing and emerging countries.
The Minister of the Environment of Qatar and the Agricultural Minister of Mauritius took the opportunity to get information about possibilities of cooperating with our competent project leaders.
Madagascar's Embassy Adviser, the Ambassador of Guatemala and the Bolivian Ambassador, as well as a delegation from the Nigerian Embassy, were also interested guests.
Representing the Embassy of Paraguay, Mr Maidana, responsible for Economic Affairs, visited us and the embassy council of the Republic of El Salvador also got to know our stand.
The already implemented Food & Energy project in South Africa was presented by SUNfarming at the public event "A world without hunger is possible", a special initiative of the BMZ.