South Africa’s agricultural landscape has seen some significant changes due to the effects and the extent of the national loadshedding crisis. There are numerous sites across South Africa addressing the shortage in electricity with the implementation of Photovoltaic systems/Solar installations. Although loadshedding is a burden and has an economic impact on agriculture, the opposite is also true that the South African agricultural landscape is undergoing a remarkable transformation — one that is not only helping farms thrive but also contributing to a more sustainable future within the sector.

The use of solar energy within the South African agricultural sector is mainly implemented in irrigation practices, packhouses, greenhouses, and livestock watering. The economic and environmental benefits are significant as the implementation of solar energy can assist farmers in reducing operating costs, promoting energy independence, and preventing serious damages in yields produced due to unscheduled and frequently implemented power outages. Furthermore, it aligns perfectly with South Africa’s renewable energy goals, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting economic growth within the agricultural sector.

As solar energy continues to shine upon South African agriculture, a brighter and more sustainable future is being cultivated. The nation’s farms are not just growing crops; they’re also growing cleaner, greener, and more environmentally responsible practices that promise to bear fruit for generations to come.

As agriculture is fostering this greener and more efficient environment, producers will be meeting the commitment and requirements laid out in the SIZA Environmental Standard which the National Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulations support. This will enable producers to move towards meeting their direct energy needs (electricity and fuel) without remaining dependent on non-renewable energy sources.

The SIZA Digital Recordkeeping Programme allows producers and packing/processing facilities to track their energy inputs for both grid and renewable electricity, thereby showcasing the shift towards a more sustainable agricultural landscape in South Africa. Currently, across over 360 sites that have implemented the Digital Recordkeeping programme, more than 16% of electricity used is from renewable sources, with this number growing every year as producers move towards more sustainable energy sources.

From coast to coast, South Africa’s farms are basking in the glow of solar success, heralding a brighter, more sustainable future for agriculture across the entire nation.

Written by Victor Mouton