By Elvis Muraranganda
NAMIBIA’s premier cement manufacturer Ohorongo Cement, a subsidiary of Schwenk Zement KG recently unveiled a solar PV plant next to their factory on Farm Sargbergnear in Otavi.
This makes Ohorongo Cement the first industry in Namibia to be directly fed with solar generated power for its operations. It is the first privately owned independent power producer solar PV plant that will supply power directly to an industrial customer without going through the national transmission grid.
Ohorongo invested close to N$100 million in the solar plant which will provide green and clean electricity to the cement factory. This will contribute to the reduction of Namibia’s reliance on electricity imports as well as in greenhouse gas emissions. SunEQ Four Investments, an independent power producer and solar asset development outfit, in collaboration with its Namibian partner, Hungileni CC, developed, constructed and owns the Solar PV Plant.The plant is equipped with approximately 20,000 polycrystalline silicon modules mounted on a tracking system with an output of 5MW that will be fed into the electricity grid of cement manufacturing plant. Officiating at the event, Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo indicated that the output of the plant is a contributing factor to the country’s efforts to sustainable electricity generation which he believes has positive implications and far-reaching impacts for the future. “We trust that this partnership will assist to contribute to alleviating poverty in the region, through stimulating the local economy and providing honest, decent sources of livelihood,” said Alweendo. “In addition to adding to the energy mix, the project will continue to help ensure a renewable supply of power to the Ohorongo Cement Plant; and, perhaps most importantly, ensure future growth for the region, while also contributing to the growth of the country,” he added.
Ohorongo Cement Managing Director Hans-Wilhelm Schütte said: “With this, Ohorongo Cement will contribute towards Namibia’s efforts to reduce Namibia’s reliance on electricity import, and assist to reduce CO² emissions from electricity generated using fossil fuels,”
“In doing so, we will also conserve the precious commodity of electricity that adds so much value to every sector and sphere of our economy,” he continued.
The investment in this facility is made up of 90% Namibian sourced funds with 30 % of equity contributed by equity partners Hungileni Investments.
The construction of the plant was also conducted by a team made up mostly of Namibian experts.
“SunEQ Four Investments Namibia is truly honoured to have been a part of this momentous journey from the beginning and is pleased to have done all this, involving Namibian content and investment along the way,” said Alan Okemwa the Project Manager -Solar Investments Solutions at SunTrace GmbH, a member of the SunEQ and Hungileni consortium.
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