GABORONE (Reuters) – State-owned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has awarded Norwegian company Scatec ASA a contract to build a 50 MW solar plant, the companies announced on Wednesday, BPC’s first utility-scale renewable energy project as Botswana looks to boost power supplies and increase clean energy shares.
Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement signed on Wednesday, Scatec will finance, build, own and operate the solar plant and recoup its investment by selling electricity to BPC over 25 years.
“The plant is our first and largest utility-scale grid connected solar PV plant and we expect the project to be operational by June 2024,” BPC CEO David Kgoboko said, adding that procurement of another large-scale solar plant was underway.
The plant will be located near the mining town of Selebi-Phikwe, 400 kilometres east of capital Gaborone.
Botswana currently does not have any large-scale solar power generation and its 600 MW national energy demand is predominantly met by state-owned coal-fired plants.
Endowed with over 212 billion tonnes of coal, fossil fuels are likely to dominate power generation in the near future but Botswana has a target of at least 18% of national production being generated from renewables by 2030.
In May, Botswana invited bids from independent power producers to build another 200 MW power plant comprising of two units of 100 MW each, with the plants expected to be commercially online by 2026/2027.
Scatec is one of the leading renewable energy solutions companies in the world with ongoing wind, hydro and solar power projects in Africa, Asia and South America.
(Reporting by Brian Benza; Editing by Bhargav Acharya and Josie Kao)