Groot Constantia goes solar

The 337-year-old Groot Constantia wine estate plans to go solar.

Groot Constantia is going solar with the help of crowdfunding campaign.

Jean Naudé, CEO of Groot Constantia, said they were trying to raise close to R2.8 million for a 165 kW solar system to power their winemaking and restaurant operations.

The 337-year-old estate is using Sun Exchange, a solar-cell leasing business, to set up its solar system.

The business model lets investors from around the world fund individual solar cells, at a cost of R64 each.

So far, 32 000 solar cells for Groot Constantia’s solar system have been bought, to the value of just over R2 million, by more than 650 people from 61 countries.

“Once all 43 448 cells are funded, the system will be installed and the farm will pay for the solar electricity generated at less than the wholesale price, giving Sun Exchange investors a 20-year revenue stream,” said Abe Cambridge, CEO of Sun Exchange.

Mr Naudé said the solar plant would help to prevent about 4 700 tons of carbon emissions in its lifetime.

“We’re looking to the future and working with Sun Exchange to bring together a global community to be part of our solar project. This enables us to protect and conserve that heritage and natural beauty,” he said.