Kaap Agri Invests in Solar Solutions
Posted on: 5 September 2022
Energy efficiency initiatives at Agrimark branches are showing benefits with new projects in the pipeline.
Kaap Agri is expanding its use of renewable energy to achieve greater energy efficiency, enhance the customer experience, manage rampant electricity costs and erratic supply, and foster a greener mindset across its operations.
As part of its energy efficiency strategy, the company has run a successful solar energy trial by using solar panels on the roofs of its two largest Agrimark branches, in Paarl and Worcester.
“Our aim is to become the leading agricultural supplier making use of renewable energy sources in South Africa. We want to set a positive example and promote initiatives towards reducing our collective carbon footprint in the rural communities in which we operate,” says Werner van Zyl, Kaap Agri’s Group Manager: Enterprise Asset Management.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were selected for the purpose of small-scale embedded power generation which presented opportunities to use renewable energy sources.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were selected for the purpose of small-scale embedded power generation which presented opportunities to use renewable energy sources. According to the United Nations Climate Action Programme, renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed. Sunlight and wind, for example, are such sources. Renewable energy allows for cleaner air and has a positive impact on the environment – allowing for better health for both humans and animals.
Werner, who led the project, says the solar installations have resulted in tangible benefits. The plants at Agrimark Paarl and Worcester were installed at a cost of R1,6m each. These installations have resulted in savings of R641,197 for the period from 1 October 2021 to 31 July 2022 at Agrimark Worcester and R538,447 at Agrimark Paarl. By the end of July, the CO2 offset for both branches added up to 768 tons collectively, which equates to saving 4,608 trees.
The drive behind the company’s sustainability initiatives is not only a cost-saving one, confirms Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, Director of Corporate Affairs. “Kaap Agri strongly believes corporate sustainability starts with our value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. We seek to be good neighbours and valuable community members wherever we operate. Finding win-win solutions where sustainability initiatives are aligned to core business operations is important. In this way, we can ensure long-term commitment and positive environmental impact,” she says.
Renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed.
Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.
The solar power project also enables the branches to stay open during load shedding.
“Kaap Agri’s strategic focus areas include the implementation of systems to optimise our business operations and enhance the customer experience. By incorporating alternative sources of energy, we can also be there for our customers – uninterrupted – during ongoing load shedding periods,” says Barend Sulvester, Kaap Agri’s Senior Manager for Sustainability.
“Due to the increasing cost of electricity and continued load shedding the feasibility of a further roll-out across the branch network is being explored, with a major installation at our Agriplas manufacturing facility on the cards for end 2022,” says Barend confidently.