Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade & Development, Min. Lilianne Ploumen, on October 30th oversaw the official opening of a “Solar Powered Greenhouse” at Olij Roses Farm in Naivasha Kenya. The Minister was on an official visit to Kenya as part of a trade mission focused on agricultural and infrastructural development when she opened the project which is a joint effort by Green Farming partners Van Zaal, hothouse builder Bosman, Hoogendoorn Growth Management and rose breeder Olij Roses.
The project will enable Olij Roses to undertake its production by using Solar power as an alternative energy source which is the growing trend among horticulture farmers in the region due to increasing energy costs. The new system is not only environmentally friendly but has also been said to be more reliable than the Kenyan electricity grid because of a constant, reliable and stable supply.
The new technology realizes generation of both heat and electricity through using the solar panels and heat collectors. This effectively heats the greenhouse at night (which has a positive effect on production) and provides enough electricity needed for farm operations. The excess heat and electricity generated is then stored in a special heat conserving tank and battery pack.
The project partners have estimated a save in energy costs of up to 40% for Olij. With this new move, the partners also seek to strengthen and intensify horticultural business relationships across Kenya and Ethiopia.
Minister Ploumen emphasized the importance of sustainable energy solutions for the East African horticulture sector. She officially unveiled the project board alongside the Chairman of Green Farming, Mr Harm Maters.