KFC, GIZ in joint plan for renewable energy solutions in flower farms

Mon, Jul 26, 2021

German development partner GIZ conducts feasibility studies for KFC members free of cost

Energy efficiency for flower farms in Kenya are one of the priority areas identified by the Kenya Flower Council (KFC), which has partnered with the Project Development Programme (PDP) of the German Energy Solutions Initiative, implemented by German development agency, GIZ, to benefit their members.

The PDP support includes conducting pre-feasibility studies, at no cost, for renewable energy solutions solar to supplement the farms’ power consumption.

To get them started, KFC with support from PDP evaluated energy audit reports and power consumption data from the farms, which was used as a guide towards energy efficiency measures and renewable energy solutions that would best suit the flower farms. The results of the in-depth study culminated in a series of virtual workshops in November 2020 to raise awareness among KFC members and to promote peer-to-peer learning through industry case studies.

A revolutionary partnership

According to KFC Chief Executive Clement Tulezi, over 30 members have taken up this opportunity. “Installing renewable energy helps reduce costs and increases competitiveness, and by the end of the year we believe nearly 50 per cent of our members will be energy-efficient,” he said. “This partnership will revolutionise the industry,” he concluded.

According to a report commissioned by PDP and produced in 2015, Kenyan Flower Industry — Potential for Renewable Energy, a growth of 5 per cent in the flower industry was anticipated every year over the next five years, globally. To be a part of this opportunity, Kenya will need to continue the expansion of the sector while focusing on improved productivity to counter increased costs of production and decreased returns on investments.

Further, due to the practice of greenhouse farming, flower production is an energy-intensive activity. Energy is required for water pumping, lighting, refrigeration, heating, and for sanitary processes. As a result, the flower farms incur significant costs in meeting their energy needs — whose costs account for approximately 10-20 per cent of the total operating costs of the farms.

The 2015 report recommended, among others, the application of solar photovoltaic technology and provision of key information in energy audit reports to assess load curves and renewable energy resource availability, such as the amount of flower waste on each farm.

Clean energy

One of the first projects implemented by PDP within the flower farm sector was concluded in December 2019 with a 150 kWp photovoltaic system for Simbi Roses flower farm in Kiambu County. The PV system supplies the flower farm with clean energy during the day, saving up to 144 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Self-consumption solar systems are ideal for meeting the energy needs of flower farms during the day.

GIZ runs the PDP as part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). First started in 2014, the programme connects solar PV opportunities to financing institutions. It is scheduled to conclude in March 2023. The programme runs in 18 countries around the world, including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, and Mauritius. Other African countries in the programme are Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, and Zambia.

The PDP locally develops appropriate solutions with a view to developing the markets, promoting partnerships between German and local companies, and advancing specific renewable energy projects.

Photo: Floating solar panels at Rift Valley Roses, Naivasha reduces the rate of evaporation in the dam as well as providing clean energy.

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