Alten Africa secures $50 million for 45 MW PV project in Namibia

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The wholly-owned subsidiary of Spain-based Independent Power Producer, Alten Energías Renovables has secured up to $50 million from the South African Standard Bank and the subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement, Proparco, to complete the project, which is set to be the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa.

Located in the Hardap region in the Mariental municipality, 230 km south of the capital, Windhoek, the 45.5 MWp (37 MWac) PV plant will comprise around 140,000 crystalline silicon panels mounted on trackers, when complete this September.

“It will be one of the most productive in the world because of the location’s extremely high irradiation levels,” said Alten Africa in a statement released.

It added, “Once it starts commercial operations, scheduled for September 2018, around 112 GWh of clean electricity will be uploaded onto Namibia’s national grid, enough to meet the annual electricity needs of over 70,000 Namibians.”

A tender was issued by state-owned utility NamPower last year for the development, execution and operation of the solar project, which is 51% owned by Alten Africa via the investment vehicle Alten Hardap, 19% owned by NamPower, and 30% owned by local investors, First Place, Mangrove and Talyeni (30%), which is led by eight Namibian women.

Solar development

Namibia currently has two operational PV parks, the 5 MW Otjozondjupa Park and the 4.5 MW Omburu Park.

Last June, German independent power producer, SunEQ four Investment said it would build a 5 MW PV plant near Otavi. The plant, which has a required investment of NAD 100 million ($7.8 million), will be constructed by the company’s local partner Hungileni CC.

Namibia-based industrial group Ohlthaver & List also announced last April that it would build a 6.4 MW PV plant in Tsumeb, in the Oshikoto region of northern Namibia. It was scheduled to be operational at the end of 2017.

A month prior to this, Namibia’s Electricity Control Board (ECB) announced new rates applicable to PV systems installed under the government’s net-metering scheme. The new mechanism was introduced in November 2016, and supports the development of PV projects up to 500 kVa.