Cronimet to set up solar power plant in Seronga

LETTY MASUNGA
Wednesday, 08 November 2017
BPC and Croniment officials BPC and Croniment officials

Botswana Power Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Seronga Village with Cronimet which will establish a MW Solar power plant in that area. 

This development is part of fulfilling expectations of the Paris Agreement, which Botswana has signed to increase green energy mix by 25percent within the next seven years. Consequently Government has implored its first steps into a greener environment through the employment of solar power plant projects in rural areas, Seronga being the first. As per the agreement, Botswana has pledged to establish 250MW on solar capacities by 2025 as a way of reducing carbon dioxide emission to zero by the year 2036.Botswana Power Corporation’s chief executive officer Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer said, “As the corporation, we have taken the bold step to ensure that government attains its aim as we are currently embarking on building solar power plants to electrify more rural areas.”The project includes the construction of a 100MW Solar Power Plant next year as well as the electrification of more rural areas, which are distant from any of the corporation’s grid by building 1MW Solar Power Plants and the distribution network in 20 rural villages.In receiving the project, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness and Member of Parliament for Shoshong; Phillip Makgalemele expressed gratitude for having the project first to be rolled out in his constituency, saying the community will immensely benefit from it.“The sun is free and inexhaustible. Solar technology converts the sun’s radiation directly into electricity with no pollution or damage to the environment. The panels can generate enough power to run stoves, pump water, light clinics and power televisions. Botswana has one of the best climates for this type of energy,” Makgalemele told this publication. The Minister said the development has motivated the enhancement of specific sectors to include agriculture, mining, agronomy, energy, waste management through the economic diversification drive (EDD). “The use of cheaper and more sustainable solar power will activate progress in these different sectors and in turn be beneficial to the country at large,” he added.The corporation would also establish solar Grid Tide Power Plants of the size of 1 to 3MW in 12 dedicated villages with an overall capacity of 60MW. Apart from 1.3MW power station in Phakalane, Botswana’s power supply is currently met from coal resources. As part of the deal, the power plant would provide power to Tobela village during the day whilst BPC would provide power during the night.

Dr Schwarzfischer said in the coming months, the corporation would increase its distribution network in the Tobela area to cover and connect the whole village that would connect more people in rural areas.“Additional solar capacities are at planning stage and would be executed once the three projects have been concluded. The corporation and other independent power producers would finance some of these projects,” he said.

Earlier the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security said about 145,000 out of the 242,000 households can be reached by the end of 2021 if the off-grid solar was implemented this year. This equates to 60% of total off -grid market or an installed capacity of approximately 30MW.

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