Williamson Tea has unveiled East Africa’s largest solar project at its Changoi Tea Farm in Bomet County, Western Kenya. The solar system will 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 will reduce the need for grid electricity and the consumption of diesel when back‐up energy production is required. This innovative use of solar engineering is only the sixth system of its kind to be built in the world.
Williamson Tea has over 140 years’ experience in the art of growing, selecting and blending fine teas. 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. When the grid is down, the solar power system will work together with the standby diesel generators, significantly reducing the amount of diesel consumed.
Commenting on Williamson Tea’s solar farm, Dr Dan Davies, Director for Solarcentury locally in East Africa said, “We applaud Williamson Tea for investing in solar to support the company’s sustainable business growth. In a country blessed with plentiful irradiance and land space, solar is a perfect solution and reduces dependence on fossil fuels while improving energy security.”
Leading solar energy company Solarcentury was selected as the lead designer, supplier and installer of the unique PV system, and is also responsible for the operation and maintenance. A British company and expanding internationally, Solarcentury is committed to bringing the many benefits of solar to Kenya. Solarcentury’s 15 years’ experience and engineering excellence is being invested in Kenya through its Nairobi office, headed up by Dr Dan Davies, one of Solarcentury’s founders.
Frans van den Heuvel, Solarcentury CEO, said, “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. Sustainable energy sources are becoming more critical especially as the cost of fossil fuel energy continues to rise globally. Solarcentury is now focusing on delivering solar internationally and is pleased to be working with forward‐thinking companies like Williamson Tea. 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.”
Local solar companies East African Solar and Azimuth Power were the developers for Williamson Tea’s solar farm.