South African independent power producer Sturdee Energy has chosen German company Soventix GmBH to construct its Bobonong solar PV project. The 3 MWp solar power plant is among the first solar projects to be developed under a public-private partnership in Botswana.
Sturdee Energy has signed an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Bobonong power plant with the South African subsidiary of Soventix, under which the builder will provide the installation of panels, inverters, and other essential equipment for the solar PV plant, located in the eastern part of the country.
The Bobonong solar project is being developed by Sturdee Energy simultaneously with another solar project in the north of Botswana, the 1 MWp Shakawe PV plant. Sturdee Energy has already signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with the state-owned electric utility Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) for both the PV plants. The construction of the solar PV plants will require an investment of $5 million.
In 2019, the Government of Botswana granted the first permits for the development of the two solar plants, with the aim of diversifying the country’s electricity mix. Botswana has an installed capacity of 450 MW from the Morupule B thermal power plant. Faced with high electricity demand, the country imports 150 MW of electricity from South Africa, a country that is already facing power outages in recent years.
The Bobonong and Shakawe solar PV plants will allow Botswana to reduce its dependence on coal-powered plants and increase renewable electricity to the national power grid. These two solar plant projects will be the first solar IPPs in the country. According to Sturdee Energy, the two facilities will produce estimated electricity of 10,000 MWh in their first year of operation.