Solar Minigrid for Cicetekelo Farm in Ndola, Zambia
Cicetekelo Youth Project (CYP) is one of the many projects of the Pope John XXIII Community in Ndola, one of the most important cities in Zambia.
The project, whose manager is Mr. Stefano Maradini, from Italy, started in 1997 and intend to protect vulnerable minors, children and young people who live in situations of hardship and poverty.
Over the years, a series of self-sustainable production activities have also been launched: an ice cream and pastry shop and a farm, which includes agricultural production, horticulture, and livestock.
The farm hosts the main gelato factory of Zambia “Gigibontà” where the grown-up street children produce Italian ice cream for the entire country with a distribution network of over 9 gelaterias.
The business is profitable and consistently contributes to financing the activity of the community in a virtuous circle that feeds itself.
Ndola has daily blackouts of 15 hours, so the solar plant was crucial to power all the activities that are carried out in the farm.
Naturally, this could be a threat to the cold rooms in which hundreds of kilos of delicious gelato are stored.
Windkinetic has designed, built and started up a 28-kW solar mini-grid to provide the farm with constant, clean and reliable power during the blackout hours avoiding many hours of expensive and polluting diesel generation.
The system consists of a fully containerized plug and play device designed and assembled in Italy in Windkinetic premises. The technology is first class and it’s extremely reliable and constantly supervised by Windkinetic remote monitoring system from the headquarter in Florence.
After the delivery, Windkinetic technicians have made the commissioning and the start up. The system is now fully up and running successfully providing for the energy needs of the farm.
“We have used for this rural electrification project the same technology that we use in rich industrial applications,” says Windkinetic CEO, Claudio Pedretti, “we have been able to deliver a first class reliable system at reasonable costs. That’s the way we intend to electrify Sub-Saharan Africa: high-quality Italian technology at an honest price”.
The investment done in the system will be repaid in just a few years.
“We managed to create a farm of about 50 hectares, with the plantation of corn, soybeans, wheat. We also have a flour mill and we breed pigs and chickens. In Ndola there is no light 15 hours a day, therefore the energy requirement is considerable and the water level at the Kariba hydroelectric dam is not enough. That’s why the photovoltaic system was fundamental for us “, says Stefano Maradini.