Tiger Brands goes solar as power woes persist

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 17 Aug 2022

JSE-listed packaged goods company Tiger Brands will soon begin rolling out solar power at its manufacturing sites.

In a statement, the company says this kicks off a “multimillion-rand” investment, with the goal to have 65% of its electricity requirements at a manufacturing level across South Africa sourced from sustainable energy solutions by 2030.

It notes this will be done through the procurement of power purchase agreements from independent power producers, as well as other renewable energy options.

The move comes as SA continues to face crippling power shortages, with the country also looking to move away from fossil fuels.

Embattled power utility Eskom, which supplies the majority of SA’s electricity, has over the years struggled to keep the lights on and has had to introduce load-shedding in order to protect the grid from a total collapse.

Amid the power crisis, president Cyril Ramaphosa recently put renewables at the core of government’s plans to end load-shedding.

Tiger Brands notes that onsite solar power, and other renewable energy solutions, will be installed at 35 of its manufacturing sites across SA by 2030, beginning with four sites, which will generate 2MW of power, providing at least a third of their power usage.

The first four sites are Tiger Brands’ Henneman Mill in the Free State, King Foods in the North West, as well as its beverages and home and personal care manufacturing plants in Gauteng.

According to the company, solar power generation at these sites is expected to go online between the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2023.

“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.

The 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, says the firm.

Other than solar power, Tiger Brands is also exploring biogas, wind, batteries and hydrogen, among others.

The company says it 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 its aim to reduce its energy intensity by 30% by 2030, says the firm.

“This is not a one-size-fits-all solution that we are introducing. We want to ensure 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.