The construction of an N$80 million solar photovoltaic power plant will commence in November at the mining town of Arandis.
The power purchase agreement (PPA) between Erongo Red and OLC Arandis Solar Energy signed at Walvis Bay on Monday will culminate in the new 3.4 megawatt (MW) solar-powered plant.
This comes after Arandis Solar Energy, an independent power producer, successfully tendered in 2015 for the construction of the new power plant.
The plant will be constructed on a piece of land, measuring 12.5 hectares, that will be leased from Arandis Town Council.
About 50 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, as well as an unspecified number of permanent jobs when the project becomes operational.
According to Erongo Red CEO Robert Kahimise the power plant is expected to save the regional electricity distributor close to N$5.8 million a year and an estimated N$127 million over a 25-year period.
He added that the signing of the PPA marks yet another important milestone for Erongo Red, which he says is continuously seeking ways to make power supply more affordable.
According to Kahimise, the Electricity Control Board will provide regulatory oversight and OLC Arandis Solar Energy will be the operator of the plant and the seller of generated power.
“The Arandis Solar project will not only ease Erongo Red’s electricity bill from Nampower, but will also allow electricity consumers to have access to clean energy at a reasonable price.
“Personally, I feel the signing of this agreement is a step in the right direction and it came at the right time, as we are shifting our focus to renewable energy as we diversify our energy mix, such as wind, solar and biomass,” he said.
Once completed, over 10 000 poly-crystalline photovoltaic (PV) panels will be mounted on a horizontal single-axis tracking system to produce a total installed capacity of 3.4 MW.
The PV plant will generate over 8.3 million KW hours of emission-free electricity per year.
It will be connected to and synchronised with Erongo Red’s transmission station and will likely supply electricity generated from the sun to the coast for the next 25 years.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, O&L Energy’s CEO, Bernd Walbaum, said the project reflects ways in which the public and the private sector can come together to create a win-win situation for Namibia in terms of the provision of power.
He said the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new solar plant would take place in November.