Eveline de Klerk
Karibib-Solar energy generation reached yet another milestone last Friday when an N$120 million solar power plant was launched at Karibib in the Erongo Region by the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga.
The solar plant, which will feed five megawatts (MW) into the country’s national grid, is one of the 14 renewable energy projects commissioned under the interim Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff programme (Refit), initiated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Electricity Control Board (ECB) to establish independent power producers in the country.
The plant was developed by MetDecci Energy Investment from South Africa and its local partners. MetDecci is a conglomerate of Met Group in South Africa that supplies infrastructure for the energy and mining sectors, and Decci from the Czech Republic that develops, owns and manages solar power plants.
According to Jonathan Matheson from MetDecc, 19,000 solar panels are being used to generate the 5MW.
He added the plant alone can provide 3,800 households with electricity.
Currently Karibib itself uses 2.8MW while the Navachab gold mine uses 9MW.
Matheson noted the new solar plant is relatively low maintenance and will still have value after its 25-year lifespan.
Speaking during the official opening of the plant, Barnabas Uuwanga, the director for MetDecci Namibia, said that apart from the 25-year contract they signed with the Karibib Town Council, they will also share part of their profits with the council by selling electricity to NamPower.
“The profit-sharing is additional to the land rentals we are paying. This is because we want to contribute and increase the revenue generation of the town council,” stated Uuwanga.
Attending the launch of the project Shilunga, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, remarked that the commissioning of the solar plant is indeed an important milestone for Namibia’s electricity supply industry and the country as a whole.
She added that the Refit programme is an important part of the ministry’s strategy which seeks to strengthen local capacity to supply electricity and at the same time create opportunities for investors.
“Thus we thank MetDecci and the Karibib council who ensured that the project became a reality and edge Namibia closer to becoming self- reliant in terms of electricity generation,” said Shilunga.