The Williamson Tea solar installation, located at its Changoi Tea Farm in Bomet County, Western Kenya, is claimed to be East Africa's largest PV plant. The innovative solar system is designed to cut Williamson Tea’s energy costs by around 30%, supplying clean solar electricity during the daytime to meet most of the tea processing factory’s energy demand.
Williamson Tea’s system aims to reduce the need for grid electricity and the consumption of diesel when back-up energy production is required. When the national grid is working, Williamson Tea’s solar farm will work in parallel with the grid and reduce the amount of grid electricity imported. Conversely, when the grid is down, the solar power system will work together with the standby diesel generators, significantly reducing the amount of diesel consumed.
“Williamson Tea’s solar farm in Changoi is a shining example of the opportunity for solar in Africa, and indeed the emerging markets, to help meet the increasing energy demands of growing economies," said Frans van den Heuvel, Solarcentury CEO. "Sustainable energy sources are becoming more critical, especially as the cost of fossil fuel energy continues to rise globally. By choosing solar, Williamson Tea is not only investing in the company’s sustainable future but also local people and the future of the tea farming industry in Kenya.”
Solarcentury, which served as the lead designer, supplier and installer of the unique PV system, is also responsible for the operation and maintenance. Local solar companies East African Solar and Azimuth Power were the developers for Williamson Tea’s solar farm.