Sunday, May 22, 2022

BPC, Sturdee Energy start Solar PV power plant in Bobonong

Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) in partnership with Sturdee Energy, a South African company last week held a ground breaking ceremony to mark construction of a 3 MW Solar PV (Photovoltaic) power plant in Bobonong village.

Sturdee Energy is an independent power producer that owns and operates renewable energy projects in Sub Saharan Africa. BPC has signed a Power Purchase Agreement with the company to supply it with solar electricity for 25 years. Construction of the Solar Plant is expected to be complete in July 2022. The project which is the first privately owned renewable energy producer in the country is expected to produce 8, 500, 000KWh per annum on average.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony last week in Bobonong village the Chief Executive Officer of BPC David Kgoboko said the Bobonong Solar PV project will generate electricity by harnessing energy from the sun; a natural resource that Botswana is well endowed with.

“The capacity of the plant is 3 MW and this will be adequate to power the whole of Bobonong village. The transition away from the current hydro-carbon dominated energy mix to a new sustainable mix is gaining momentum and this is in line with the Paris Agreement and COP26 requirements,” he said.

Kgoboko revealed that to date BPC has signed Power Purchase Agreements for solar PV projects, the first two being the one in Bobonong and Shakawe villages. He also told guests that on the 17th of March 2022 the parastatal also signed three power purchase agreements for Lobatse, Maun and Ghanzi each with a capacity of 4MW. Kgoboko further said they are about to conclude other negotiations for Power Purchase Agreements for the Molepolole site which is another 4 MW station.

“Another 50 MW solar PV plant is to be located in Selibe Phikwe. All these agreements are expected to be signed in April this year,” Kgoboko added.

He further said they are in the process of procuring investors for another 50MW solar plant to be built in Tutume, Serowe, Kang, Tsabong and Charleshill. In addition to the solar PV grid, he said they also have a Roof Top Solar Programme which started last year. The programme allows Commercial, Industrial and Domestic customers to install solar panels on their properties, generate electricity for self consumption and sell surplus power to BPC.

He commended their partners Sturdee Energy and other stakeholders for making sure that the project in Bobonong becomes a success.

Giving a keynote address, the Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi said the project is a welcome initiative as it comes at a time when the world is moving towards de-carbonizing production of electricity with the aim to save the environment for future generations.

“This is a mark in the history of Botswana, the village of Bobonong and the Electricity Supply Industry in Botswana. Once the plant is in commercial operation in July 2022, it will be the first ever Independent Producer (IPP) in the country making the liberalization and introduction of competition into the Electricity Supply Industry.

Among other important issues, the minister also said the power from the plant will improve energy security and supplement local electricity generation to meet the country’s demand.

Minister Moagi also said government is steadfast to develop entrepreneurial capacity to ensure citizens are at the centre stage of economic development initiatives. He said his ministry and its parastatals are implementing all the citizen economic empowerment policies to the hilt.

Sturdee Energy was also awarded another project in Shakawe to build 1 MW solar power station. The project in Bobonong is expected to create 60 jobs during construction and 15 jobs during operations.

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