N$120m solar plant on the cards

July 13, 2015, 8:43am

N$120m solar plant on the cards

The Central-North Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored) will construct a N$120 million solar power plant in Grootfontein in a bid to curb incessant power shortages in the future, Chief Executive Officer Mburumba has revealed.
Appolus revealed to The Villager this week that the region will be constructing a N$120 million solar power plant in Grootfontein.
This comes at a time when Cenored signed a Power- Purchase Agreement (PPA) with HopSol Otjiwarongo Solar Photovoltaic Power Park for the construction of a similar power plant.
Appolus said the Otjiwarongo solar power plant will be operational by November this year, whereas the one being constructed in Grootfontein will be operational by March next year.
“These are not our last plants. We are building similar plants in other towns in the region, and we are talking to promoters for the towns of Tsumeb, Otavi and Outjo for the construction of such plants.
I want all towns to have electricity supplied by a larger scale, which is a solar plant. We are blessed with the best solar radiation, and we should utilise it,” Appolus noted.
He said the national power utility NamPower’s electricity is becoming more expensive, hence the urgency of setting-up these solar power plants.
The funding for both the Grootfontein and Otjiwarongo solar power plants come from HopSol Africa Construction Company, and will thus remain the property of that company.
“However, the financing for the Otjiwarongo solar power plant was provided through Bank Windhoek,” Appolus explained.
Cenored will also be purchasing electricity from HopSol Africa Construction Company.
The Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant nearby Otjiwarongo is a 5 Mega-Watt plant. It will generate electricity, which will be sold to CENORED.
It will produce about 13.5 million kilowatt-hours (Mio kWh) per year, and thus supply about 2 500 residential houses with electricity.
In terms of the Otjiwarongo solar power plant, Appolus said that will only be supplying Otjiwarongo with electricity, and not the rest of the region or the country.
It will be supplementing the electricity which Cenored already buys from NamPower.
Otjiwarongo has a peak demand of 8 Mega-Watt (MW) during the day. When the solar power plant becomes operational, Cenored will thus be purchasing 5MW from the solar power plant, and the 3MW will be purchased from NamPower during the day, whilst at night 100% of the demand will be supplied by Nampower.
HopSol Otjiwarongo Solar Photovoltaic Power Park acquired and leased land from the Otjiwarongo municipality on a long-term basis.
“The importance of this plant is that it is the first of its kind. The historic importance of this plant is the fact that it is the first in the nation. We are opening the Namibian electricity market, and my hope is that others will follow suit where Cenored leads,” Appolus boasted.
HopSol Africa owner Robert Hopperdietzel echoed Appolus’ words, and said the company’s next project will be a 5MW Solar Park in Grootfontein, saying it will be same size and utilise the same technique like the one being built in Otjiwarongo.
“The investment is N$120 million, the same price as the one in Otjiwarongo. But that is just the investment, nothing has started yet, although we are currently busy with the one in Otjiwarongo,” Hopperdietzel stated.
He added that the Otjiwarongo Solar Power Plant is made with about 35 000 pieces of High-Performance CIGS Thin film Solar Panels from supplier Taiwan Semi-conductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
“These CIGS Thinfilm Solar Panels from TSMC are ideal for the extreme climatic conditions here in Namibia. They outperform other technologies by up to 15% higher yields.
The Solar Panels will follow the sun by using a high-tech Horizontal Single-Axis Tracker. The inverters, which transform the DC current of the solar panels in an AC current, get supplied by German world market leader SMA,” explained Hopperdietzel.
Up to 100 local people will work over the next months on site. About 20-25 long-term jobs will be created for locals in carrying through the operations and maintenance of the solar park.
HopSol is currently preparing the installation of five further solar power parks of similar size all over Namibia.
This will continue to stabilize the electricity supply situation all over the country, especially with the predicted 225MW deficit set to hit the country by next year.

by Charmaine Ngatjiheue