There is a fear that Chinese investment in infrastructure development in Botswana has failed to install solar water heating systems initially recommended for some of the public infrastructure awarded to Chinese construction companies.
A University of Botswana Clean Energy Centre which is implementing Solar Thermal Roadmap anticipate that the solar water heating and cooling system installations in the country will cover 910 000 metre square with an output of 637 MW in 2030.
A study from University of Botswana Clean Energy Centre has listed some of the infrastructures that were constructed by Chinese companies as some of the buildings that solar thermal systems used in heating and cooling system are becoming white elephants as a result of failure to install the solar thermal systems.
According to University of Botswana Clean Energy Centre it is not only Chinese companies that are non- committal to deliver infrastructure that were initially recommended to have solar thermal technology for solar heating and cooling system.
University of Botswana Clean Energy Research Centre, Director Dr Edwin Matlotse argue contrary to a belief that it is only Chinese companies that fail to design, install and maintain the solar thermal technology such as solar geysers.
Matlotse indicated that according to a study that the centre carried it became evident that a number of solar thermal technologies in government institutions became white elephants since the design, installation and maintenance were done by individuals who had no technical knowhow.
Matlotse would not want to comment on whether Chinese construction companies failed to install solar thermal technology which the centre argue that it could reduce overdependence on electricity generated from fossil fuels.
He indicated that the government would be in a better position to comment on Chinese companies that had failed to install solar heating system which are now becoming white elephants. Matlotse indicated that even before the arrival of Chinese there was infrastructure that was left with solar thermal systems that were not working.
He indicated that those who are awarded tenders to build infrastructure that are recommended to have solar thermal technology installations will never at any point indicate that they have no technical knowhow.
“They are business people and business people are tricky .Even if they don’t know how to design and install they will still go ahead and cheat,” adds Matlotse.
He indicated that through the centre they have partnered with Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN ) with the aim to providing training among private companies, individuals and government departments on design, installations and maintenance of solar thermal technology.
According to him the training is extended to private companies, government and individuals to close gaps that exist in implementing solar thermal technology.
The training is said to be important to the centres which is implementing ‘’Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap ”.
Matlotse explained that through the Solar Thermal Roadmap they anticipate to install 910 000 metre square of solar heating and cooling installations around the country in 2030.
According to the UB Department of Electrical Engineering, Professor Andrew Obok there is need for a commitment from all facets of the society such as private companies, government and individuals to achieve this goal.
He pointed out that the government has invested a lot when it comes to installations of solar thermal technology which are now becoming white elephants as result of failure to install the solar thermal systems.