Soitec CPV modules. The company has built a 26kW demonstration project
in Namibia. Image: Alstom.
The energy minister of Namibia, southern Africa, has called for greater
deployment of solar to provide power in off-grid locations.
Isak Katali was speaking at the inauguration of a 26kW demonstration project
built by French concentrator PV firm specialist, Soitec, near the Namibian
Katali said that with solar irradiance of 3,000kWh per metre squared every
year, Namibia had ample resources to electrify areas not connected to the
“It is clear through projects such as this that plenty of opportunities
exist for small-scale renewable energy projects,” Katali said of Soitec’s
“Independent power producers in solar, wind and biomass are thus strongly
encouraged to invest in renewable energy projects such as this one,” he
Katali said a rural electricity “master plan” published by the
government had identified areas of Namibia where grid electrification would
be problematic for the “foreseeable future”, and where solar
power could provide a solution.
“I would therefore like to request the project partners to consider
replicating this project in other suitable areas, particularly to remote
villages in the country that are far away from the national grid. I am aware
of the huge financial implications of such projects, but I'm convinced that
through forming partnerships this can be realised," he said.
Usib, a joint project between Soitec and NamPower, Namibia’s national
power utility, comprises two CPV systems and provides electricity to the
local primary school and a water pump, which irrigates the community garden.
Soitec built the system and will operate it until next year, after which
operations and maintenance will pass to NamPower.
NamPower managing director, Paulinus Shilamba, said: "This [project]
is an ideal blueprint … as it provides the necessary technological
framework and conditions for the successful transfer and deployment of this
specific renewable energy technology for on-grid power generation.
“It is also a good example of how the energy sector can make a meaningful
contribution to socio-economic development in the country through utilisation
of the energy of the sun; a natural resource Namibia is blessed with in abundance.”