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Tiger Brands, Southern Africa’s Largest Food Manufacturer, To Install Solar At Its Manufacturing Sites

South African consumer goods giant and its largest food manufacturer, Tiger Brands, will install solar power at its manufacturing sites. Tiger Brands has also been implementing energy efficiency initiatives to maximize efforts with the aim of reducing the company’s reliance on the national grid and minimize impact on the environment. Tiger Brands’ portfolio includes key staples such as maize meal, rice, pasta, and flour, and also spans a wide variety of products such as beverages, canned foods, sea food, baby food, and toiletries.

Tiger Brands says that the rollout will start soon and will be part of a multi-million-rand investment with the goal to have 65% of the business’ electricity requirements at a manufacturing level across South Africa sourced from sustainable energy solutions by 2030.  The rollout will involve the procurement of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the C&I solar sector and will also include other other renewable energy options.

The first 4 sites will be Tiger Brands’ Henneman Mill in the Free State, King Foods in the North West, and its Beverages and Home and Personal Care manufacturing plants in Gauteng. Solar power generation at these sites is expected to go online between the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2023. Solar at the first 4 sites will have an installed capacity of about 2 MW of power, providing at least a third of their power usage. Tiger Brands says onsite solar power, and other renewable energy solutions, will be installed at 35 manufacturing sites across South Africa by 2030.

Tiger Brand’s announcement adds:

“Harnessing the power of natural energy sources is first and foremost about minimising our impact on the environment and doing our part to reduce reliance and strain on the national grid so that more South Africans have access to the resource,” says Derek McKernan, Tiger Brands’ Chief Manufacturing Officer.

Tiger Brands’ goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% against science-based targets by 2030, with a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Other than solar power, Tiger Brands is also exploring biogas, wind, batteries and hydrogen amongst others. The company has introduced several initiatives to reduce energy intensity at its manufacturing sites to maximise efficiency efforts. Some of these optimisation initiatives include detailed site investigations to identify water and energy reduction opportunities, as well as ensuring accurate measurement and metering at the sites. This is aligned with the business’ aim to reduce its energy intensity by 30% by 2030.

“This is not a one-size-fits-all solution that we are introducing. We want to ensure that we assess the requirements of each site individually and implement initiatives and innovations that best suit each site while removing all forms of power wastage,” says McKernan.

The C&I solar market in South Africa is starting to take off in a big way. It’s really good to see big companies with multiple sites such as Tiger Brands embrace solar. Tiger Brands is also considering biogas, wind, batteries, and hydrogen (green hydrogen, I assume) amongst others. South Africa’s grid is mostly powered by coal. As firms look to lower their carbon emissions, more of them will add rooftop solar and batteries to complement their consumption from the grid as well as enhance their energy security in an environment of increasing electricity rationing, infamously known as load-shedding in this part of the world.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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