Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga officially launched the United Nations (UN) House solar panels on Wednesday, alongside leaders of the City of Windhoek (CoW) and the UN in Namibia.
Shilunga officiated on behalf of Mines and Energy Minister, Obeth Kandjoze during the ceremony at UN House in Klein Windhoek.
As Namibia receives a high amount of sunlight, the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) to Namibia, Kiki Gbeho emphasised that the UN’s move towards using solar energy is an opportunity to showcase best practice, in terms of the use of renewable energy in support of Namibian and global efforts to combat climate change.
The recently agreed Sustainable Development Agenda identifies clean energy as an integral part of the global strategy to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
“Specifically, Goal 13 of the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) speaks to climate change, while Goal 7, aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” Gbeho said.
Since the installation in the beginning of May, power usage at the UN House has decreased by approximately 50 percent, which translates to savings of roughly N$60,000 per month.
If the current savings trend continues, coupled with the current effort to monitor power usage around the office, UN Namibia forecasts savings of at least 60% in the next few months.
This, over time, will result in significant monetary savings that can be directed to programmatic work as opposed to operational costs.
At the launch occasion, Shilunga highlighted Namibia’s great potential in renewable energy, specifically solar power, with its abundance of land, an average of 300 sunny days per year and the second highest level of solar irradiation in the world.
Shilunga also emphasised that Namibia is gearing up for a renewable revolution through the National Energy Policy. “Namibia is ready to show the world what can be achieved through renewable energy development. Namibia is ready to take its place as a world leader in renewable energy,” she said.
Deputy Mayor of Windhoek Fransina Kahungu, on behalf of Mayor Muesee Kazapua, reiterated the importance of Namibia joining the rest of the world in going green and working towards attaining clean and affordable energy for all.
The move towards solar power is one of the many initiatives UN Namibia plans to implement in line with ‘Greening the Blue’, the UN’s journey towards achieving climate neutrality, reducing its carbon footprint and promoting an environmentally friendly office.
Besides utilising solar power, UN Namibia is installing energy efficient light bulbs in UN House to maximise energy savings along with its recycling system.
In the medium turn, UN Namibia will strengthen water conservation, including through the exploration of the use of grey water for gardening purposes. The UN Namibia family says it will endeavour to create a more mindful and sustainable office environment and calls upon its partners to join hands and emulate similar programmes in their offices.