Namibia to see its first solar park early next year

Solar-namibiaNamibia is currently heavily reliant on South Africa’s Eskom. (Image source: Fae/Wikimedia Commons)Namibia’s first solar power park is expected to start early 2015 and add 4.5MW of electricity to NamPower’s national grid

The US$10.79mn Omburu Solar Park, owned by French investor InnoSun, is situated about five kilometres south of Omaruru and is the first renewable energy project in Namibia by an independent power producer (IPP).

Comprising of about 30,000 solar panels, the power park occupies 15 ha. The panels are on self-adjusting ‘tracker’ mountings that allow them to face the sun all day long, InnoSun said.

Isak Katali, minister of mines and energy, said that Namibia has enough renewable energy and should just harness it more. “We will continue to support InnoSun because they have realised their plans,” he added.

The minister also spoke about the serious need for energy sources independent of other countries and the important role of investors in Namibia’s energy security in a region where supply is strained. NamPower has reportedly embarked on prospective bulk supply projects, yet highlighted the need for smaller decentralised projects that could carry Namibia through critical times of regional power shortage.

Paulinus Shilamba, MD of NamPower, said that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries depended on each other through the regional power pool, and that power shortage was affecting all due to population and economic growth, and so each country was taking care of their own needs. He added that Namibia is heavily reliant on South Africa’s Eskom.

An US$7.55mn loan, which is part of the solar park project cost, was signed between InnoSun and the Development Bank of Namibia. A short-term critical supply programme was started to ensure that supply gaps are bridged over the next five years until a bulk supply project is implemented.

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