Densa Sawmill has invested in PV power.

Densa Sawmill has invested in PV power.

Large-scale industrial solar panel installations provide tremendous cost-cutting benefits for sawmills, wood processing plants, and furniture manufacturers. There is no better time than now to capitalise on solar technologies.

Running a sustainable business is challenging when overhead costs inflate, and the power supply is erratic and variable. Focusing on the future, Densa and White River Sawmills did their homework and began investing in photovoltaic (PV) solar systems over the past 18 months.

Their systems were developed and commissioned by Build Africa Energy (BAE) and are maintained by BAE’s contracts division, Infoled. Miles Oates, director of BAE, says the company uses European technology because the panels are robust and manufactured to the highest quality standards.


Talking solar

Photovoltaics absorb light to produce energy measured in watts. One Watt is one amp flowing through one volt, a kilowatt is 1,000 watts, and a megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts. The peak power of a PV system is the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance on a sunny day in the afternoon and measured in kilowatts peak (kWp) or megawatts peak (MWp).

Oates explains that the kWp of an industrial PV system depends on how much a sawmill wants to spend and the roof or ground space available to accommodate the panels.

Rossouw and Oates report that Densa invested in a 442 kWp ground-mounted system that Oats says has produced 864 MWh and a net saving of R1,250,965. White River Sawmill invested in a 341 kWp roof and ground-mounted system, producing 373 MWh since July 2021 and saving R574,493.


Densa Sawmill

  • 442.26 kWp ground-mounted solar PV installed
  • 864 MWh produced since December 2020
  • R1,250 965 revenue at the time of publishing

White River Sawmill

  • 341.1 kWp ground-mounted Solar PV installed
  • 373 MWh produced since July 2021
  • R574,493 revenue at the time of publishing

Source: Nadia Rossouw of Infoled, Build Africa Energy