DBN finances Namibia’s first mega solar plant

WINDHOEK: The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has provided N.dollars 84 million in finance for Omburu Sun Energy for the construction of the first-ever solar power plant in Omaruru.

According to the media statement issued to Nampa by DBN on Thursday, the bank announced its provision of financial assistance for the Namibia’s first large-scale solar power generator.

The photovoltaic power plant, also known as a solar park, will be constructed in Omburu near Omaruru in the Erongo Region at a cost of over N.dollars 135 million.

A photovoltaic power plant will feed carbon-free electricity into NamPower’s national power grid, replacing 5 537 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The plant is a large-scale photovoltaic (PV) system designed for the supply of merchant power into the electricity grid.

It will consist of 30 000 solar panels on 15 hectares of land.

According to the statement, once completed Omburu Sun Energy is expected to generate 4,5 megawatts (MW) capacity for NamPower, adding that the electricity generated will reduce NamPower’s requirement for fossil fuels in a clean and sustainable manner.

DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi quoted in the statement saying that the Bank’s appraisal of the project showed that InnoSun has the necessary skills to bring the project to fruition, as well as experience with renewable energy projects in a number of African countries.

Inkumbi said that the forecast revenue and the terms of the power purchase agreement with NamPower gave confidence that Omburu Sun would be sustainable over the long-term.

He further noted that in addition to being the first large-scale solar electricity generation project in Namibia, the project opens the doors for power generation by the private sector.

“Although large-scale power generation was previously the domain of the public sector, the successful trial of the project will create a receptive environment for more companies to generate power from renewable resources such as solar,” Inkumbi said.

DBN CEO noted that although solar power could not entirely address the needs of on-demand electricity, use of various sources of renewable energy could substantially reduce Namibia’s requirement for fossil fuels.

He added that this would have an incremental impact as confidence in renewable sources grows and more facilities are added.

Inkumbi said that additional local capacity is vital for social development as the overwhelming majority of Namibia’s population does not have access to electricity yet, and that as they become connected to the power grid, the demand for electricity and the requirement for imported electricity will grow.

The work on Namibia’s first utility-scale ground-mounted PV power plant has started in August this year, and aims to complete the project by December 2014.