High electricity costs giving flower farmers headache
Flower farms in Naivasha are taking up solar energy as their next source of power as the cost of electricity continues to rise.
They say that the high tariffs coupled with rising fuel prices are pushing up the cost of production and reducing profit margins.
Naivasha based Shalimar flower farm joined the list of farms using solar power by installing a system with a capacity of 428 kilowatts (kW). It is one of the largest solar farms in the region.
According to Srikanth Vadakattu, a Director of East African Growers, the cost of electricity is a major factor in flower production in the country. He said investors are concerned by the current high cost of electricity and that solar energy would help bring down the high bills.
“This plant is a game changer in flower production and we expect the cost of electricity to come down in the coming months,” he said. Vadakattu said this was the way to go for investments using a lot of electricity in their production.
Erwin Spolders the CEO of Redavia, the firm that developed the project said it is currently the biggest solar power plant that the company has developed in the country. “The savings from solar will be a game changer for the horticultural sector because the cost of energy for greenhouses and pack houses make up a large part of operational costs in the sector,” he said
He said that the solar power plant leasing service by the company is rapidly gaining traction in the business world as consumers seek cheaper and reliable source of energy
“With just a minimal upfront investment, customers can reduce cost and increase operational flexibility through the use of such solar systems which are affordable,” he said.