Largest solar energy plant in Africa dawns in Namibia - CNBC Africa

Largest solar energy plant in Africa dawns in Namibia

Southern Africa

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A rooftop solar power plant. PHOTO: Getty Images

The plant is a partnership between Namibia Breweries and the Ohlthaver and List Energy group, and was recently announced and approved. It will be the largest roof-mounted PV plant in Africa to date.

 “It’s a 1.1 megawatt plant and we have decided to go the green sustainability route, really trying to look at alternative energy. There’s a number of projects we’re currently embarking on, and we have had available that large roof at Namibia Breweries, where we mounted the plant on top of 4,200 solar panels,” Ohlthaver and List Energy group executive chairman Sven Thieme told CNBC Africa.

“[It] also lends itself very well because of the air circulation to be more efficient, so there’s more air than on the ground.”

The partnership between the two companies was primarily spurred on due to Namibia Breweries’ large and growing demand for energy.

Thieme added that the move was also a means of using environmentally responsible ways to increase electricity production especially in a region that is particularly short of it.

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“Right now, [the plant] will only contribute towards our own consumption. During the day, when the sun shines, we will meet about one third of our own consumption,” Thieme added.

Namibia will however require certain skills in not only building the plant but also maintaining its function.

The plant is currently being designed in Germany, and German engineers will also be imported to oversee the establishment process in Namibia. There will nevertheless be a partnership with locals to transfer knowledge and skills.

The project, in isolation, has the potential to create roughly 100 direct jobs for the period of energy consumption. Some building materials will also be imported.

“The total investment was 22.8 million. It has a guarantee of 25 years, but it’s estimated to [last] 30 to 40 years, and it produces 1.9 million kilowatt hours per year. We have further projects with Namibia Dairies, where we will invest into a bio-energy plant which makes energy from cattle manure,” said Thieme. 

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