Botswana’s stated-owned power utility Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has issued a Request for proposals relating to the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of 12 solar PV power projects.
While no further technical or financial details were provided, CEO of BPC Stefan Schwarzfischer is reported by local press to have said that the tender will seek IPPs, and that BPC will facilitate the procurement process on behalf of its parent ministry and Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA).
According to Schwarzfischer, the new projects are intended to provide more electricity connections in Botswana to cover the whole country within the next few years.
Interested IPPs will have until March 29, 2019, to submit their project proposals.
In May 2017, the BPC issued an expression of interest to seek a partner to build a 100 MW solar power plant at an unspecified location in Botswana in conjunction with the local Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE).
Prior to the launch of the new tender, in early November, Botswana joined the International Solar Alliance.
Around 29% of Botswana’s current power demand is covered by domestic coal power generation, which comes from the 600 MW coal-fired power plant known as “Morupule B”. The remaining 71% comprises power imports from South Africa. Due to several technical problems with the Morupule B plant, however, the country is suffering from chronic energy shortages.
According to a document on the U.S. Government’s export portal, the country has a high potential for solar energy utilization, with an annual direct normal irradiation equivalent to 3,000 kWh/m²/a in most parts of the country. Another recent report from U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that Botswana is among those African countries that could meet 30% of their projected 2030 energy demand with low-impact solar PV.