South African wine farm goes off the grid with emerce

Professor Niel Krige and his family were dreaming of energy independence to not suffer from load shedding anymore. With the installation of a PV plant and  storage solution, they can now meet their energy needs anytime - even when there is no sunlight.

Professor Niel Krige
Lingen Farm, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stefan Steffens
Small commercial

The Challenge:

Niel Krige and his family suffered often from load shedding on their wine farm.  Power was cut off on a regular basis for 2 to 4 hours by the local energy provider. “Load shedding is a tricky situation, as we can’t power our devices anymore and have to stop all ongoing operations on our vineyard”, says Niel. “So, we were searching for a new power source to be independ from our local grid. Solar seemed highly attractive to us, as renewable energies were getting more and more reliable during the past years.”

The Solution:

Niel chose solar installer Stefan Steffens from Rensol Africa to set up the solar plant. Stefan recalls: “As the roof of Niel’s wine farm was not big enough, we decided to install a ground-mounted PV system. With a combination of grid-tied inverter that powers loads directly and battery inverter that is charging the battery, the vineyard is now backed up for blackout situations”, he explains.

Choosing the right components for his plant was fast and easy for Neil: “We have opted for an SMA SUNNY TRIPOWER inverter in combination with a SUNNY ISLAND battery inverter, as they were offering the best cost-performance ratio. The battery inverter balances our load and demand peaks and ensures consistent electricity supply during load shedding.”

Stefan Steffens

Stefan Steffens - Installer

After the customer’s decision, Stefan ordered the required components: “On the emerce marketplace, finding and purchasing the right products was easy. Panels, solar and battery inverters as well as the batteries were all available in one place and delivered quickly.”

Panels: Longi 435Wp
Inverter: 1 x SMA SUNNY TRIPOWER 25kWp
Batteries: 120kWh lithium batteries
Battery Inverter
Battery Inverter: 6 x SMA SUNNY ISLAND 8kW

The Result:

The investment has paid off for Niel: “Our PV system currently generates energy yields of approximately 59,478kWh per year which covers about 85% of our energy needs. The data manager allows me to decide when to directly power my loads with solar electricity or store energy in my battery system while sourcing power from the grid. This way, I can always be sure to have fully-charged batteries in case of blackouts.”

Niel Krige

Niel Krige - Professor

Based on their good experience with the PV plant, the family has decided to further expand the facilities later this year.


“We are looking forward to covering all our energy needs by harnessing the power of the sun.”

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