“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 lockdown in the corona pandemic has shown that regenerative energies are more crisis-proof than coal and oil. The worldwide expansion of renewable energies is still in positive territory and the International Energy Agency expects growth of 5%. Electricity consumption fell, but the feed-in of renewable energies into the power grid is up to 80%.
“Due to the falling electricity consumption during the crisis, many classic power plants were not started up. It is not worth it because the operating costs are too high. Renewables are more stable and crisis-resistant and, thanks to their decentralization, have a further crisis advantage over large power plants. I'm thinking of attacks on the critical infrastructure here, decentralized systems are much less in focus here, ”explains Martin Tauschke SUNfarming Managing Director and co-founder.
"In addition, power plants need employees to operate and if they cannot work, e.g. if the minimum distance cannot be maintained, the plants stand still. Regardless of this, PV systems continue to feed in“, Martin Tauschke continues.
3.5 tons of corn flour were donated to Uganda.
The truckloads were handed over to the district government of the affected Covid19 region Adjumani on May 1st, 2020. The 30 MWp Food & Energy plant planned by SF will also be built here.
The corn flour was handed over by Prince Kimbugwe Edward, SUNfarming Managing Director Uganda, to the Kalungu district board to support poor communities.
Minister of Agriculture Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki and RDC Mr. Tukikiriza Kerebu, members of the Covid 19 District Task Force of the President of Uganda, are responsible for distributing the donations. They thanked SUNfarming GmbH and SF Uganda for the quick and unbureaucratic help.
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.
After several months of preparation, SUNfarming signed a PPA with the Togolese state on Thursday, January 16, 2020, for over 50 MWp Food & Energy plants. Installed on 2 x 50 hectares of land, the systems, in addition to supplying energy, are intended to help up to 50,000 people in the region receive training in the area of organic vegetable and egg production in the next 10 years. In addition, technicians are trained for the solar sector and the basics of electromobility are taught. Like in all other African countries, SUNfarming strives to actively involve GIZ and or KfW / DEG.
The SUNfarming Food & Energy facility will be the starting signal for a program to promote rural structural development in Togo. The partner in Togo is the CCIT (Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie du Togo, part of the Ministre du Commerce. It is responsible for the training and operation of the Food & Energy plants, under the guidance of SUNfarming. German storage and processing technologies in the field of vegetables and egg processing are as much part of the overall project as the production planning of e.g. tomato juice and ketchup to attract additional investors in these areas.
The SUNfarming Food & Energy concept can make a significant contribution to the success of the "Development Program in Rural Areas" planned by the Togolese government. In addition to a qualified workforce, this project also provides national and international investors with the energy they need to operate the processing plants that are to be built on site.
(Foto left to right:
Vice President CCIT Remie Moevi, President CCIT Germain Méba, Marc Bidamon, Energy Minister Togo, Peter Schrum, SUNfarming, Tiem Bolidja, Energy Ministry responsible for EE, Prinz Lorenzo Koageh Director SUNfarming Togo, Kossi Amétépé, CCIT 2. Vice President GLE.)