Load capacity drive solar irrigation project near Tzaneen

The need to improve load capacity and mitigate energy costs was the primary catalyst behind the recent installation of a solar energy system near Ohrigstad. Agrico Tzaneen wanted to ensure their client Cor Cross enjoyed uninterrupted irrigation and minimal crop and yield losses. With some help, they pulled off a solar system which achieves exactly this. 

About the Client

Cor Cross farms alongside the Ohrigstad River. His farm comprises 300 Ha, of which 64 hectares is primarily dedicated to citrus permanent crops. The remaining hectares of the farm are utilised for crop rotation, including wheat, soybeans, and seed corn. A micro and drip-irrigation system is used on the citrus, while pivots are employed for the seed crops.

The solar irrigation project was a collaborative effort involving Agrico Tzaneen, the client, and independent contributors. Agrico supplied all the necessary materials for the project. The team at Tzaneen was responsible for equipping and wiring the container, as well as facilitating the connection of solar panels to the container. The container’s contents include a main switchboard, air conditioning, insulation, inverters, batteries, and a camera/alarm system.

For the camera and alarm system, Cor enlisted the services of an external company. Additionally, the client actively participated in mounting the solar panels on Agrico frames, assisting with trenching, and laying cables underground within PVC pipes.

The Solar Setup

The solar system in use is a 100 kW “Hybrid” Synsynk system, comprising two 50 kW inverters and 120 solar panels (equivalent to 66 kW solar capacity) paired with a 120 kW battery capacity. To prioritise solar energy utilisation, the existing 100 kVA transformer is integrated into the solar system.

To ensure continuous power supply, a 150 kW generator has been seamlessly integrated into the system. This standby generator comes into play during periods of insufficient solar power, such as nighttime or cloudy weather, and when Eskom power is unavailable.

Two 60 kW battery banks ensure that the system can operate at full capacity even during times when solar power falls short, particularly during mornings and evenings. The excess solar power generated during the day is utilised to recharge the batteries. The generator automatically activates when battery power drops below 30%, and Eskom power is unavailable. It deactivates as soon as Eskom power is restored or when the batteries reach a predetermined charge level of 95%.

The entire system can be conveniently monitored and controlled online.

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