Osona Solar Power Plant on track for August

04 Jul 2016 07:00am
OKAHANDJA, 04 JUL (NAMPA) - The Osona Solar Power Plant, located west of Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa Region, will add five Megawatts (MW) to the national grid, which is enough to power the town of Okahandja during the day.
A visit on Saturday for an update on the project by InnoSun revealed that operations at the 21 600 solar panels that span over an area of 16 hectares are expected to be up and running by mid August.
InnoSun, a French company specialising in renewable energy, signed a 25-year power supply agreement with national power utility, NamPower, and was also involved in building the Omburu Solar Power Plant close to Omaruru in 2015.
InnoSun Managing Director (MD), Thomas Verhaeghe said it is important to note how the project will use the abundant Namibian sun to add power to the national grid.
“This Photovoltaic Power (VP) plant here will generate electricity that will be injected into the NamPower network. The energy generated by the Namibian sun will be delivered to the Namibian nation,” Verhaeghe said.
InnoSun also signed the first Independent Power Producer (IPP) agreement with NamPower to supply electricity by means of solar and wind energy to the national network.
The Osona Solar Power Plant is situated about 10 kilometres west of Okahandja and construction started two months ago.
The plant, once completed towards the middle of August this year, will be fully computerised, Verhaeghe said, which will enable the solar panels to rotate and follow the sun to optimise power generation.
This computerised system will increase the output of the power plant by at least 25 per cent according to Verhaeghe.
He said solar power plants are becoming more utilised as the technology develops.
“The main reason for this, [the sudden upsurge in solar power plants and usage], is that technology has improved drastically,” he said.
Critics of solar power plants argue that most systems are not very efficient, requiring a large capital to begin and also need a lot of maintenance to ensure productivity.
Verhaeghe said the technology has developed over the past 20 years to be more cost effective and more efficient.
Apart from generating electricity and pumping into the national power grid, the solar power plant will also create jobs and reduce Namibia’s reliance on energy import.
Harald Schütt, a renewable energy expert from Amusha Consultancy Services said the construction of the solar power plant is a breakthrough in Namibia's energy sector.
“Creating our own energy has a triple effect: it creates jobs, stabilises the national grid and it saves Namibia the export of money to other countries when we buy our electricity from those countries,”Schütt noted.
About 70 Namibians from two local companies are employed at the construction site.