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Valley’s solar solutions can make your farm shine!

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Irrigation has many benefits, but it needs electricity to function efficiently. Electricity supply is often unreliable, and in some rural parts of Africa there is simply no electricity.

Irrigation has therefore not been possible for the farmers in these remote regions. Valley irrigation realised the need for electrical supply solutions for these farmers and can provide any farmer with the power needed to increase the production on his farm.

Valmont, the holding company for Valley Irrigation, acquired a Brazilian solar power company, Solbras, in 2018. Solbras has years of experience and expertise in the solar energy industry. Valley uses their experts to provide a holistic solution for the electricity needs on your farm.

The process

•Any farmer who experiences electricity supply shortages can contact their nearest Valley agent.

•The agent will do an assessment of the electricity needs on the farm.

•This assessment is sent to the engineers at Solbras who develop and design a tailor-made system based on the needs of that specific farm.

•The Valley agent will erect and install all the solar energy components according to the stringent Valley quality control standards.

Francois Griesel, Valley’s Regional Sales Manager for Africa, says that Valley is not merely in the business of selling pivots. “We provide solutions for farmers. Depending on what the farmer wants, we can power his pivots with solar energy, or convert his whole farm to run on solar power,” Francois explains.

He says that even though the designs are done by the Solbras engineers, all components of the solar energy system are subject to Valley’s strict quality standards. “Farmers can expect the same quality in the Valley solar solutions that they are used to in the Valley irrigation systems,” says Francois.

Farmers can choose to install smaller solar energy systems to simply power their pivots, or Valley solar solutions can install a solar system that will provide a reliable source of electricity for the whole farm.

How it works

1.Solar panels capture radiation from the sun to convert it into electricity.

2.The electricity is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) through a charge controller or inverter.

3.The alternating current allows for use in the farm buildings and for machines, such as water pumps, depending on the capacity of the solar system that the farmer chose.

4.The excess solar energy not used at peak times can be stored in batteries for use at night.

Solar energy offers many benefits to the agricultural sector, especially when combined with an irrigation system:

•Efficiency: Crops require more water when the sun is shining, which is naturally when solar panels are most effective.

•Energy savings: Because the panels convert the sun’s rays to electricity, your operation will save on energy costs.

•Reduced environmental impact: Less reliance on fossil fuels for power and pumping.

•New possibilities: Where traditional electricity supply does not exist, a pivot can be powered by the sun.

Part of Valley’s solution-based approach is to make their irrigation systems affordable to all farmers. That is why they have partnered with Stanbic Zambia to bring Zambian farmers the most affordable options for financing their Valley irrigation system. The partnership between Valley and Stanbic was described in detail in a previous article that can be read here: https://www.proagri.co.za/en/good-news-valley-makes-irrigation-affordable-to-zambian-farmers/

The solar system is designed by engineers from Valmont’s newly acquired Solbras, and all the solar components are subject to Valley’s quality standards.

Valley clients in Zambia have become accustomed to the excellent service provided by Irritech. Based in Lusaka, Irritech has been a Valley Irrigation agent in Zambia for the past 31 years. They have not only erected major irrigation projects in Zambia, but also service clients in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, the DRC, and Rwanda. Some of the major irrigation projects that they have been involved with include Zambia Sugar (Illovo), Zambeef, Silversands, and Kaombe Sugar, to name a few.

According to André van Wyk, Director of Zambia Irritech, Valley’s after sales service creates lasting personal relationships with the farmers. “We try to get to know our clients on a personal basis while keeping the business relationship professional,” says André.

Irritech Zambia keeps enough stock in Lusaka to meet the farmers’ needs. They assist with the whole process of installing an irrigation system, from planning to building and after sales service.

For more information, contact Francois Griesel on +27(0)10-350-0055 or e-mail francois.griesel@valmont.com, or André van Wyk from Irritech Zambia on +26(0)97-877-2550, or send an e-mail to andre@irritechzm.co.zm.

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