File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Montego Pet Nutrition recently completed a R22 million solar plant project at its Graaff-Reinet based production facility, which is set to reduce its annual electricity demand by 1.4 million kWh – enough to generate power for nearly 120 households at an average consumption of 1000 units per month for an entire year.

Montego worked with SPV Solar to plan and execute the project, which included upgrades to its existing electrical infrastructure and installing generator sets and a solar panel system. The 843 kWp solar panel system covers an area of 4 580m² of rooftop space, with each panel measuring 2m² and weighing 25kg.

“Solar power not only helps make a positive environmental impact, but it is an ideal energy solution for us from a cost-saving perspective too, especially because of the favourable climate in Graaff-Reinet,” said Wilfred Cawood, marketing manager at Montego Pet Nutrition.

The solar panel installation will save Montego 24 percent annually on electricity and has the potential to earn back the company’s investment within the next four years. 

“The greatest benefit of going the solar route lies in the positive impact it can have on the environment,” said Morgan Naicker, managing director at SPV Solar. “Simply put, the system we’ve installed for Montego will achieve the equivalent of eliminating the greenhouse gasses of nearly 600 motor vehicles on the road annually, or reduce the energy usage needed to power 2 000 computers for a year, or enough energy to operate a TV for over 23 million hours.”

The nine month project follows closely on the heels of a R70m factory upgrade that Montego implemented in 2018 to meet local and international demand of its premium quality pet food, which boosted overall production by 30 percent.

“Our only limitation to the solar project has been a lack of rooftop space, but there are pipeline plans to build additional infrastructure to accommodate more solar installations and achieve a further 2MWs,” said Cawood. “There is also the possibility of a ground-mounted solar structure, which we are discussing as we continue our efforts to ‘go green’ and find sustainable alternatives.”

The final module was installed and completed on 17 May, with the balance of the system the end of May 2019.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE