SA’s leading pet nutrition brand, Montego has announced that following its R22 million investment, which kicked off the dedicated solar installation and energy storage plant at its Graaff-Reinet production facility in 2019, the company has decided to invest another R11 million to take its energy resilience to the next level. 

Solar power was first suggested by Edmond Becquerel way back in 1839. Now, almost 200 years later, it’s becoming one of the most widely used energy sources on the planet. 

Renewable energy, mostly from solar and wind, looks set to constitute around half of the world’s total energy supply by 2023, and in SA the rapid adoption of solar has been spurred on by the energy crisis, and resulting load shedding. 

PV solar arrays, combined with cutting-edge battery energy storage systems (BESS), don’t emit any noise or air pollution as they produce power. They’re clean, fast and, because – unlike coal and gas – sunlight won’t run out, they’re sustainable. 

With 2,500 hours of sunshine each year, SA has some of the highest and most stable levels of solar radiation anywhere in the world. 

Kallie Venter, Engineering Manager at Montego Pet Nutrition, breaks it down: “The previous system featured an 843kWp PV array, spanning 4,580 square metres of rooftop space. With it, we reduced our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the tune of 1.2 million kilograms and saved us millions in energy and fuel costs. 

“It also spelled the end of our load shedding woes, meaning we could run production every day, regardless of the local power outage schedule.” 

“Comprising over two thousand 550W panels and covering more or less the entire roof of our head office in Graaff-Reinet, the new upgrade takes it a step further. The extensive installation which took four months to complete, was entrusted to BDL Solar. What’s more, we’ve integrated and digitised the solar energy plants to allow remote monitoring and control of the entire system, online, in real-time,” Venter explains. 

“The project has been so successful, that we’re actually producing around 200kW per day in excess capacity, which we feed back into the national electricity supply grid, so we’re also contributing to alleviating the energy crisis overall,” Venter enthuses. 

And this is just the beginning. The group plans to install PV systems at all their manufacturing facilities, commencing with the Centurion plant early next year. 

“The project has already been approved and contracted to a local company,” Venter adds. Wilfred Cawood, Montego’s Marketing Executive weighs in; “Part of our mission to be the leading pet food manufacturer in Africa, is our commitment to becoming a low-carbon company and playing a role in sustaining our environment.” 

“We’re proud to be one of the private sector players taking a leading role in driving transformation in the energy space. We’ll keep pushing to ramp up our contributions, both to alleviating the energy crisis, and towards building a sustainable prosperous future for everyone in SA. 

“Furthermore, it’s allowing us to continue producing at the required levels during loadshedding, ensuring that the pets that love Montego have food in their bowls!”