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First solar plant opens in Namibia

NAMIBIA’S FIRST solar power plant was commissioned in May, and will add a total of 4.5 Megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid.

 The plant, situated in Omaruru of the Erongo region, is the first renewable energy project in Namibia by an Independent Power Producer (IPP).

Built by French and Namibian investors, the plant is expected to run independently until 2040 when it will be handed over to the national utility, NamPower.

“The 4.5 MW solar power plant is a clear testimony of the fact that IPPs can work in Namibia and NamPower is more than willing to support and enter into power purchase agreements with IPPs,” NamPower managing director Paulinus Shilamba said.

“Even on a small scale, the 4.5 MW Omburu Solar plant will relieve the pressure from the national electricity grid.”

He said the plant was a positive step in realising the aim of generating 10 percent of installed generation capacity from renewable energy as per the country's renewable energy policy. The plant comprises about 30,000 solar panels, and occupies a total of 15 hectares.