Southern hemisphere's largest solar water heating facility at LVG Plants

Retailers, growers and the entire floriculture industry in general is ever more pressed, in ever more parts of the world, to be ever more sustainable in their production and corporate activities.

LVG Plants, South Africa's largest indoor plant supplier, greatly invested in sustainability. The company recently invested R25-million in the southern hemisphere's largest solar water heating facility. The enormous field of solar panels harvests solar energy, which heats a storage tank - housing almost as much water as an Olympic-size swimming pool - and that is then piped into eight greenhouses.


That's the equivalent of 14 rugby fields of potted orchids, lavender, roses, lilies and anthuriums, none of which would grow from tiny delicate little things into saleable plants outside of a constant temperature of around 28C.

Given that not every day of the year is clear and sunny, even this giant solar set-up can't provide 100% of the greenhouses' heating needs all year round, but based on its performance in the six months since installation, managing director Geert van Geest estimates that over a year it will provide a massive 80% of the required hot water.

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