BOTSWANA – The government of Botswana through its energy regulator has granted a generation license for a 100MW solar project to local firm Shumba Energy, a company executive told IOL, making it the first independent power producer to set up a large-scale solar plant in the country.
The southern African nation does not currently have large-scale solar power generation and its 600 MW national energy demand is met by state-owned coal-fired plants and imports, primarily from South Africa and Mozambique.
“With all the permits now in place we are now working on concluding the funding, with capital expenditure estimated at about US$80 million (R1.1 billion) for the whole project,” managing director Mashale Phumaphi said.
The diamond-rich country, whose economy has contracted by close to 8 percent from a growth rate of up to 4 percent before the Covid-19 pandemic, plans to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix to 18 percent by 2030.
“With all the permits now in place, we are now working on concluding the funding, with capital expenditure estimated at about US$80 million”Mashale Phumaphi – Managing Director, Shumba Energy
Botswana has some of the highest levels of direct normal solar irradiation (DNI) – a measure of the amount of sunlight – at over 3,000 kWh/m² a year, according to Solargis.com, a global agency on solar data.
“We are incredibly pleased to have received the environmental authorization as this will allow us to fast track the Tati Solar Project into operation,” he said.
“Given the trying times that our country finds itself in, we are keen to do our part to contribute to the economy in a manner that is environmentally friendly, sustainable and contributes to alleviating the region’s severe energy deficit.”
For Shumba “Powering the Future” means addressing chronic power shortages head-on and supplying energy to affected Southern African countries in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. The company’s main activity areas include renewable energy, fuels, trading and mining.