Reference Solar-Log™WILD! Full of energy for humans and animals the beneficial work of Thaba Tholo

The Big Five are at home here, and many other species as well: the Thaba Tholo Game Farm in the South African province of Limpopo is a remarkable project in many respects. A professional team of gamekeepers, breeding experts and agricultural engineers work in the reserve together with volunteers to preserve endangered species.
Rhinos, buffaloes, antelopes, lions, impalas, wildebeests and many other species live on 37,000 hectares of land. In addition, the Thaba Tholo Farm has a large number of exemplary social projects, aid and health services that directly benefit the local population.
Thaba Tholo focuses on green energy and sustainability in all areas. The 750-kW solar array built by the South African energy project developer Telenetix forms part of a specially constructed standalone network to ensure the supply of power. Among other things, the micro grid is used to generate electricity for the company’s own irrigation system in the extremely arid region. For the last four years, there has been almost no rain at all in the region, which is a three-hour drive from Johannesburg.
Telenetix is Solar-Log’s country partner in South Africa and is known among other things for its large energy infrastructure projects, which are always based on photovoltaics.
For the solar plant, Solar-Log comes into play. The functionality of the large-scale solar plant is reliably monitored by a Solar-Log 2000. Saving electricity permanently and keeping their own ecological footprint as small as possible – that’s important to the Thaba Tholo team lead by Managing Director Rubin Els and General Director Wouter Maree.

All the equipment for operating the power generation system is stored in specially converted, refrigerated shipping containers on the grounds of the wildlife farm. This extends the service life of the components while at the same time taking safety aspects into consideration.
The Thaba Tholo Game Farm has been in existence for 30 years. Many examples of individual species are kept in the reserve in order to preserve the genetic diversity and the richness of species. The animals have sufficient space here and are only selectively culled in limited numbers in order to maintain the natural balance. Although hunting is also offered as a tourist attraction in the reserve, lions, leopards, hyenas and other predators ensure a selection process without human intervention. “At Thaba Tholo, we believe that the wealth of African wildlife should be shared by all who live on this continent,” says Rubin Els.
The concept of the game farm is so successful that since 2008 an annual auction has been held, in which surplus animals are auctioned off to zoos and game parks. Last year, 223 animals came up for auction. Bids can be submitted worldwide via a corresponding app. The animals are in great demand: a few years ago an incredible 10 million euros were paid for a breeding buffalo.
The auction is an important element in financing the work. In addition, Thaba Tholo is also funded by donations and the commitment of several wealthy families.
The efforts to preserve the native fauna are just one aspect of Thaba Tholo’s beneficial work. The employees enjoy good working conditions here. Outside the actual reserve there are four villages where they live with their families. In contrast to many other villages in the region, there’s a reliable supply of electricity and water here. Educating the children from these villages is very important to the management of the game farm. Thaba Tholo supports five schools in the region, which are open to children from all over the region. The employees contribute to their financing. More than 700 children go to school here. Spitskop Special Needs School in Thabazimbi is the only school in the entire province that teaches children with Down’s syndrome, autism, epilepsy and developmental disorders. Thaba Tholo’s commitment also extends to adult education. A literacy campaign for employees is just one example here. Employees also have access to healthcare programmes, which is anything other than self-evident in the region. Additionally, Thaba Tholo contributes to the country’s food security by producing maize, soya, wheat and grasses as food supplements on its own farm.
Brief interview with Nicolaas Niewoudt, Managing Director Telenetix / Reference Thaba Tholo Mr Nieuwoudt, please briefly tell us about Telenetix.
Telenetix Technology Solutions has its origin in the planning and implementation of technological infrastructures.
Since 2006 we have developed into a specialist for modular infrastructure, as well as hybrid energy and solar solutions. Among other things, Telenetix Solar is a specialist for micro grid systems. Telenetix Modular Solutions offers modular energy solutions for all major sectors.
What’s so special about your project at Thaba Tholo Park?
With a 750-kW solar park and a micro grid for optimally using electricity, a special solution was created here under challenging circumstances. Thaba Tholo is situated in an extremely arid area, so it needs its own irrigation system.
All technical equipment is located in converted and refrigerated shipping containers to extend the service life and ensure safety. The complete solar solution in Thaba Tholo is monitored by a Solar-Log 2000 in conjunction with the Solar-Log WEB EnerestTM portal.
How long have you been working with Solar-LogTM and what do you particularly appreciate about this partnership?
We are Solar-LogTM’s distributor and technical partner for South Africa and have been collaborating together since the end of 2018. This was instigated through our search for a better monitoring platform for solar plants.
Solar-LogTM proved to be ideal for us, among other things because the system is compatible with different inverters and we can monitor them with a single platform.
It also allows us to control the production of energy. The partnership with Solar-LogTM has repeatedly proved to be a good idea.