Solarcentury and SolNam Energy Receive License for 60 MWp Solar Plant in Namibia
Solar Century Africa Limited and SolNam Energy last Thursday announced the receipt of a generation license for the SolNam 60 MWp solar project in southern Namibia, near Keetmanshoop.
Solarcentury Africa and SolNam plan to develop several clean energy plants in Southern Africa to provide more power to the region. Both companies first signed a joint development agreement for the 60MWp plant in early 2023. They are targeting a financial close in 2024.
The 60MWp plant will be Solarcentury's second merchant project in Namibia and will primarily supply Namibian customers. Last September, Solarcentury was admitted as a conditional market participant of the Southern African Power Pool (“SAPP”), allowing it to trade power across the region.
Solarcentury will achieve full unconditional membership when the commercial operation of its first merchant power plant, the 20MWp Gerus solar plant in Namibia starts. According to the company, construction of the plant will commence in the coming months.
Jason de Carteret, CEO of Solarcentury Africa in a statement noted that the company is “thrilled to partner with SolNam” adding that receiving the license “presents an important milestone for the project and underlines Namibia’s commitment to renewable energy and to this project.”
According to Solarcentury, the SAPP membership and the development of the SolNam project are important steps in the growth of its power trading business in the Southern African region.
The company aims to be a leading power trader in Southern Africa as it leverages its experience as a solar PV developer, its energy trading expertise, and its ability to deploy its parent company group BB Energy’s significant capital.
Solarcentury sees the development of merchant plants as a vital opportunity to quickly and feasibly deliver clean energy power and contribute to the region’s growing power demand. The project will also help Namibia reach its climate change targets, and transition away from fossil fuels.
Making the SAPP more competitive
The SAPP is seeking to increase the volume of energy traded in the competitive market. Competitive market energy trading in the region has been on a downward trend. From April to November 2023, the monthly average energy traded in the competitive market was 15.5% (99.2 GWh) of the total energy traded in the SAPP. In comparison, the same period of 2022, saw a competitive energy trading of 25% (143.4 GWh) of total traded energy.
Many of the countries in the region are undertaking reforms that allow independent power producers (IPP), other than national utilities, to participate in cross-border energy trade. Last year, Namibia became the first country in the power pool to support the development of power plants for export by developing a supporting market structure, rules, and regulations.
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