CEO Weekends: Williamson Tea & Solarcentury Launch East Africa’s Largest Solar Project


solarIn a move set to reduce Williamson Tea’s energy costs by around 30 percent, the firm has unveilled unveiled East Africa’s largest solar project at its Changoi Tea Farm in Bomet County, Western Kenya.

The solar project Williamson Tea’s energy costs by around 30% and supply clean solar electricity during the daytime to meet most of the tea processing factory’s energy demand. The firm will reduce the need for grid electricity and the consumption of diesel when back‐up energy production is required.

Dr Dan Davies, Director for Solarcentury East Africa applauded 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,” said Davies.

The plant was developed by East African Solar and Azimuth Power but Solarcentury was selected as the lead designer, supplier and installer of the unique PV system, and is also responsible for the operation and maintenance.

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.

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.”