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Financial closure achieved for biggest solar plant in Namibia

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In Brief

  • Located in the area around Mariental, installed capacity for the biggest solar plant in Namibia will be 45.5 MWp for an output of 37 MWac and the plant will be one of the most efficient in the world, due to the zone’s very high radiation levels.
  • With an estimated annual production of 112 GWh, the plant will occupy 100 hectares and meet the energy needs equivalent to a population of 70,000 (over 3% of Namibia’s population).
  • Financing has been closed with South Africa’s Standard Bank and the subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement, Proparco for a sum north of US$50m.
  • The electricity company NamPower and the local investors First Place, Mangrove and Talyeni are taking part in the project with ALTEN Africa.

ALTEN Africa says it has achieved financial closure of what will be the biggest photovoltaic solar plant in Namibia and Sub-Saharan Africa (apart from South Africa), with installed capacity of 45.5 MWp for an output of 37 MWac, an investment forecast of US$70m and a useful life of over 25 years.

The plant was put out for tender by NamPower, the country’s state-owned electricity company, which also holds a 19% stake. The power produced by the new plant will meet 3% of the country’s energy needs.

Financing has been closed with the South African Standard Bank and the he subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement, Proparco for a sum over US$50m.

ALTEN Africa has a majority stake (51%) in the investment vehicle (ALTEN Hardap), in which NamPower also has a stake (19%), together with local investors: First Place, Mangrove and Talyeni (30%) – led by eight Namibian women.

They are professionals and businesswomen, aged between 35 and 55, who have seen in this project an opportunity to acquire know-how and to invest in cutting-edge technologies that will drive forward their country’s economic growth.

ALTEN Africa, a wholly-owned affiliate of ALTEN Energías Renovables which focuses its activities on emerging countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latinamerica, closed a deal at the beginning of the year with Inspired Evolution, whose fund Evolution II will initially co-invest USD36 million in ALTEN Africa to drive the development of this independent power producer (IPP) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Read:Inspired Evolution invests in solar development in Africa

The new power production plant will use PV solar technology and occupy a land area of 100 hectares. It is located in the Hardap region in the Mariental municipality, 230 km south of the capital, Windhoek.

The plant will have around 140,000 crystalline silicon panels mounted on solar trackers. It will be one of the most productive in the world because of the location’s extremely high irradiation levels.

Once it starts commercial operations, scheduled for September 2018, around 112 GWh of clean electricity will be uploaded onto Namibia’s national grid, enough to meet the annual electricity needs of over 70,000 Namibians. The plant will also avoid the emission into the atmosphere of 33,000 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year of its useful operating life.

Namibia has one of the best electricity infrastructures in Africa and a high level of electrification, but it is also very dependent on imported energy. The new infrastructure will make the country’s energy mix more balanced and reduce its energy dependency on other countries in the region by nearly 5%.

The Executive President of ALTEN Energías Renovables, Juan Laso, commented about the completion of financing for this plant in Namibia, occurring shortly after beginning construction on ALTEN America’s 350 MWp plant in Mexico, that “this achievement builds on the solid commitment being made by ALTEN Energías Renovables to Sub-Saharan Africa.

We expect to have excellent results over the next few years, with the support of Inspired Evolution, which gives ALTEN Africa a specialist partner with a team that has experience in the regional market and a track record of close to 1 GW, in clean energy infrastructure investments”.

Luis Castellanos, CEO of ALTEN Africa, pointed out that this great work by the entire ALTEN Africa team “shows, once again, our high level of competitiveness, which is the reward for the experience and passion that we bring to the job.

We will be proud to work with NamPower and our local partners on this challenge and we are sure that, in a question of months, it will demonstrate the enormous potential of PV technology to meet the area’s energy needs”.

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