Gaborone – Botswana Stock Exchange Limited-listed Shumba Energy has secured regulatory approval to build a 100MW solar plant in the north of the country.
The state-owned Botswana Power Corporation is currently the country’s sole electricity producer, which supplies 600MW to users through its coal-fired plants and imports from South Africa and Mozambique.
Shumba MD, Engineer Mashale Phumaphi, told The Southern Times this week that the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) had given them the greenlight to build the power plant.
“Our objective as Shumba Energy is to develop Botswana’s first large-scale solar plant as a blueprint for a greener, environmentally friendly, sustainable future in our severely energy deficient region,” said Eng Phumaphi.
Shumba will build the plant two phases of 50MW each on a site covering 295 hectares.
Eng Phumaphi said they anticipated to start construction on the US$80 million project in the next six months.
He said they were yet to sign power off-take agreements and would operate as a merchant power producer feeding into the Southern African Power Pool.
Shumba Energy, which is also listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange, is the only Botswana-based and Botswana majority-owned and operated large-scale energy producer in the country.
The company was established in 2011, and since then it has made investments in renewable energy as well as the fossils sector.
Reports indicate that Shumba’s coal energy exports are tailored to offset power shortages in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Botswana has 212 billion tonnes of coal reserves.
However, there is a growing lobby for the country to invest in green energy.
Botswana has some of the highest levels of direct normal (solar) irradiation (DNI) – a measure of the amount of sunlight – at over 3,000 kWh/m2 per annum, according to Solargis.com.