A Solar Panel Project worth P150 million kick-starts early next year in Tobela village, in the Shoshong constituency.
The Chairman of Lesoso Solar Multipurpose Cooperative Society (LSMCS), the developer and owner of the project, Mogomotsi Nicolas Mokongwa revealed in an interview. The Cooperative Society is expected to develop the solar field with Kgalagadi Resources Development company (PTY) ltd, trading as Solar Power (KRDC-SP).
The 1MW Solar PV Power Station which will be the first phase as it is envisaged that it will later be expanded to 5MW is designed to become an enabling tool for; small scale rural industry food production, enhance education, socio economic development with access to internet, attract tourism, help eradicate poverty in Tobela village; to set an example for other villages to follow to eradicate poverty in their villages as well as create a replicable concept with regional and worldwide potential.
“We have KRDC-SP as lead developer in partnership with the Shoshong Constituency Development Trust, assisted by a team of international consultants. The model builds further on a shared ownership of the plant between the local beneficiary LSMCS, project developers and investors,” he said, adding that for ownership the Village Development Committee.
He said Lesoso has a shareholding of 30 per cent in the special purpose vehicle, Tobela Solar Power (PTY) Ltd, established to own and operate the power station.
“Tobela village is situated `15 km from Shoshong, 20 km from Mahalapye, with 115 households, 214 inhabitants, a primary school, clinic, VDC and Tribal Administration offices. The solar power site is a 32 hectors of land allocated for Lesoso, first stage of which occupies five hectors, with power line opposite of the road,” said Mokongwa.
He buttressed that the station development includes transformer for grid connection, power reticulation to the village and internet. The Installed Peak Power is 1210kWP; annual power generation is at 2104MWh. 100 per cent of the electricity produced there will be sold to BPC and the villagers of Tobela will be buying power through prepaid meter system with current tariffs.
“Technically, the station comprises 11000 Solar Pv modules, with total solar modules area covering 7 920m2; 30 converters and one control system. The Solar Panels have been environment friendly mounted in using patented mega-sol ground mounting system. 800-1200 main poles will be rammed on the ground, with distance between poles dependent on the load which allows for growing of plants under the panels,” he said.
Tobela Solar Power (PTY) Ltd will at the commencement of the project be the first Independent Power Producer of its status- Civil Society Organization to embark on the project of this magnitude.