Spanish-headquartered independent power producer (IPP) Alten Energías Renovables (Alten Renewable Energy) has win the rights to develop a 45.5 MW solar farm in Namibia that will become the largest PV plant in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa once completed.
A tender was issued by state-owned utility NamPower earlier this year for the development, execution and operation of the solar project, which will be located at a 100 hectare site on the outskirts of the city of Mariental.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018, and once completed the solar plant will meet 3% of Namibia’s power needs, NamPower said.
Alten Renewable Energy will develop, operate and maintain the solar plant, which will be 19% owned by NamPower. Total investment of the project is estimated at $45 million. A total of 140,000 solar modules will be installed at the site, as well as single-axis tracker technology to maximize harvest.
Currently there are just two ground-mounted solar parks operational in Namibia, sized 5 MW and 4.5 MW respectively. Alten Renewable Energy’s African subsidiary, Alten Developments Africa B.V., was awarded a tender last year to develop a 37 MW solar plant in the country, and will sell solar generated from that plant at a price of 0.807 NAM ($0.060/kWh).
In March this year, Namibia’s Electricity Control Board (ECB) released details of the nation’s new applicable net metering rates for solar plants up to 500 kVa. This is part of the government’s push to capitalize on Namibia’s abundant solar energy potential, while also reducing its reliance on neighboring countries for its power.