Solar energy not a cheaper alternative to conventional power: Brown

Harald Schutt, general manager of Renewable Energy Industry Association of Namibia (REIAoN), expressed his dissatisfaction at regulation that limits independent renewable energy producers from feeding their excess supply to the national grid.

Schutt said this on Wednesday at the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) panel discussion on 'Recovering from the economic downturn.

REIAoN general manager is of the opinion that Nampower wastes money importing electricity from South Africa.

Coupled with the cost of carbon dioxide emission to the environment, solar energy proves to be cheaper and environmentally friendly, he said.

He added that the monopoly of Nampower and the City of Windhoek municipality only allows private individuals who produce solar energy to put back in the grid the equivalent of what they consume in a year.

By de-regulating and allowing surplus producers of solar energy to feed back the excess power into the national grid money that would have been spent on importing energy from South Africa would remain in the Namibia economy, Schutt said.

Chairperson of EAN, Rowland Brown however disputed Schutts comments regarding solar energy as a cheaper alternative to coal generated power supplied by national power utility company Nampower.

The potential for solar power as an alternative and cheaper source of energy is overstated, said Brown who argued that solar energy should be treated with caution until such a time that solar power can have good storage.

Brown emphasised that solar panels only produce power for approximately twelve hours in the day meaning that Nampower still has to meet the demand for those who have solar power when their solar power is not working.

The panel discussion was attended by students, academics and business leaders who posed questions and comments to the panellists who included Nangula Uaandja, country Partner of Price Water House Coopers and Jason Kasuto managing Partner of MONASA.

Source: Namibia Press Agency