United Selections, breeding a colourful future by using solar energy

United Selections, breeding a colourful future by using solar energy

By Steven Mulanda

Solar power energy is evidently becoming the new trend, as it is being used widely in the country. The use of the solar energy as an alternative to electricity is becoming handy with corporates as well as many households and flower farms adapting it.

United Selections a premier rose breeder headquartered in Nakuru, adopted this trend last year when they installed several solar panels to reap the solar energy benefits. The farm becomes one among the many flower outfits that have embraced renewable energy over the last few years, a clear indication that flower growing industry is more determined to tap into renewable energy for sustainable operations.

Solar energy is environment friendly and cheaper than electricity. “For commercial and industrial operators in Kenya, the use of solar energy offers a cost-effective alternative to the power supply from the grid, where prices have gradually been increasing. For the last 12 months since adoption of this mode of energy, we have been able to tap138.058,49 kwh from the solar panels,” said Edwin Kirwa, Marketing Assistant, United Selections.

Apart from the obvious financial benefits, there are other pertinent reasons why people are converting to solar energy. Currently, the breeder highlights that 43% of their energy consumption is fulfilled by the solar panels which has led to their operations becoming more sustainable.

“We have been running our borehole pumps more during the day and less at night to optimize solar power. Solar system have been running smoothly since we installed, no maintenance has been required, only cleaning of the panels especially during the dry season; a layer of dust on the panels can reduce the power by a small percentage. Usage of the energy and the amount that is taped is communicated using daily data shared in a friendly app or web-based software,” he said.

Solar energy do not have carbon emissions as compared to other energy production methods. Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to capture energy from the sun. “As you would probably guess, this is a renewable energy and doesn’t produce any carbon emissions. The environment is under threat, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is growing and if we are serious about avoiding the worst of climate change, it is incredibly important that we rapidly reduce carbon emissions and solar panels are ideal for this. Here at United Selections we have been able to reduce carbon emission by 83.259,96 kg per year,” Kirwa opined.

Solar panels may be expensive at the initial investment, but they provide a return usually over a set number of years. After this point, the energy they produce for the rest of their lifespan is effectively free. “We want to be more self-sufficient in energy, and run an environment friendly business. In this way, we want to take responsibility and contribute to a greener world,” he said.

Kenya’s future clearly depends on the ability to adapt and utilize solar and other renewable energy. Renewable energy is now touted as a major solution for climate change. Though the costs of the system are high, they are predicted to decrease in future.

On the other hand, United Selections recently held their open day. “After close to one year of no crowd or meetings brought about by Covid-19 pandemic, we successfully held our 2021 open day event while observing the laid down guidelines by the ministry of health on prevention of the spread of the virus,” he said.

Open days usually provide a mutual benefits platform to growers and breeders to interact and share new varieties of roses that have the potential to fit into the growers’ current business plans. “The open day was a great opportunity for us to share with growers our new varieties, namely: Novavita, High Key, Pink Sand, and some spray varieties like; Golden Blossoms, Fire Blossoms and Speaking Blossoms,” said Kirwa.

For a decade since its establishment, United Selections has operated by its slogan “breeding a colorful future.” It’s through this mantra that the company strives to create a better environment for everyone by being sustainable in all their operations, solar installation being their latest.

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