Botswana is making progress in the development and integration of solar energy sources into the energy mix, an official said at the commissioning of Bobonong 3 MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) plant station on Friday.
David Kgoboko, the chief executive officer of Botswana Power Corporation, said the plant station is the largest single solar PV plant in Botswana which resonates with Botswana’s commitment to achieving a balanced and sustainable energy mix.
“We are making progress on our new energy mix initiative,” said Kgoboko during the commissioning ceremony held at Bobonong village in the eastern part of the southern African country.
The solar plant was constructed by Sturdee Energy, a South African company that develops, owns and operates renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, such as solar PV, wind, hydro and battery storage.
The energy mix initiative was borne out of Botswana’s National Energy Policy, a blueprint aimed at creating an energy system that ensures a secure and reliable supply of modern energy services for all sectors of the economy and significantly reduces energy-related atmospheric emissions by the year 2040.
Over the years, Botswana has been relying on the use of coal, as a primary source of energy, because it is in abundance, Kgoboko said, adding that there is a need to drive for the adoption of greener sources due to advancements made in renewable energy technologies and concerns raised globally about the adverse impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We aim to attain a new and optimal energy mix with diversified sources of energy by the end of 2026. This is also in line with the National Vision and desire to attain net-zero emissions by 2050,” he said.
In discharging this mandate, Botswana’s power utility floated tenders for 12 small-scale grid-tied solar PV plants with a total capacity of 35 MW, he said, adding that tenders for two utility-scale grid-connected solar PV plants, each with a capacity of 100 MW, were issued.
As per the country’s National Vision 2036, the renewable energy target is to have the proportion of domestic electrical power generation from solar sources and other renewables at 50 percent by the year 2036, said Lefoko Moagi, Botswana’s minister of minerals and energy, at the commissioning ceremony.