5mw solar plant constructed at mothballed Areva mine

A new Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Project capable of feeding five Megawatts of electricity into the national grid is currently being constructed at the substation of the mothballed Trekkopje Uranium Project about 45 Kilometres northeast of Swakopmund. The official groundbreaking of the N$110 million investment took place in Swakopmund this week.
The new development is the first of its kind in Namibia, forming part of the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) Programme, which was initiated by NamPower a few years ago. As part of the programme investors are encouraged to develop “small scale” renewable energy projects in Namibia to supplement the electricity generation with the aim to ultimately transform Namibia from an electricity importer into a self-sufficient nation.
The project developer is the company Sertum Energy Namibia, which was born with the aim to develop renewable energy projects in the country, while the financingand execution of the project were done by the Italian company Enertronica. Enertronica is already maintaining and developing similar projects all over the world, having made various investments in outer African countries.
“This development is only Phase 1 and will generate five Megawatts of electricity,” said Vito Nardi, Group CEO of Enertronica on Tuesday in Swakopmund.
During his presentation he said that various approvals are in place to develop a PV Solar Power Project capable of delivering a total of 27 MW. “So far we only have an agreement to deliver 5 MW, but once a Power Purchase Agreement for the total amount has been finalised, we will develop the rest,” he continued saying.
The ultimate goal is to supply electricity and to power the desalination plant located north of the Wlotzkasbaken.
The 5 MW installation will employ about 50 to 60 people during the construction phase. According to Enrico Barbaglia, from Sertum Energy Development, the current development will consist of about 18 000 silicon PV panels.
They are fitted with a tracker technology enabling them to move with the sun, ensuring a large amount of uptake of the sun’s energy. Furthermore the project will be able to supply energy in the national grid for about 10 000 Namibian families.
Even through construction has already started, emotions were running high during the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony this week. During his remarks Veston Malango, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, congratulated the companies, saying that “we, as the industry, embrace renewable energy projects.”

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