Botswana gets first solar plant


Image: Ponatshego Kedikilwe. By John Churu
Ponatshego Kedikilwe

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Botswana’s Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, has officially opened the first solar power generation plant in the country. The project was possible courtesy of the Botswana/Japan cooperation.

Japan’s technical assistance to Botswana encourages the application of Renewable Energy Technologies.  Through the Cool Earth Partnership, Japan availed a grant of about ¥1.11 billion (P84 million) for the construction of what was initially a 1 MW photovoltaic pilot power plant.  Through an open competitive bidding process, savings were realised which have been used to procure an additional 0.3 MW of photovoltaic plant, giving an aggregate of 1.3 MW, according to Kedikilwe.

The Vice President explained that “in 2008 the Japanese Embassy made a proposal to the Ministry of Minerals Energy and Water Resources on the possibility of developing a pilot photovoltaic power plant, utilising funds from the Cool Earth Partnership facility, with “Cool Earth” being a reference to reduction of Green House Gas Emissions.”

“Concurrently, the Japanese Embassy offered to undertake a study on the refurbishment of Morupule A power station with the aim of among other things, bringing emissions within the statutory limits.

In the same year, the Japanese Government made an offer to undertake a Feasibility Study on the Environmental Improvement of the Municipal Solid Waste Management in the Gaborone Metropolitan Area.”

The Vice President, who is also the current Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, said: “it can be deduced from the foregoing that the Japanese Government’s support for Botswana Government’s initiatives to reduce or mitigate global warming has been as generous as it has been timely."

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