Namibia’s Groot Glass has appointed Germany-based Suntrace as Technical Consultant for the development of an 80MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Plant.

The power plant will generate electricity and power the planned Groot Glass Manufacturing Factories in Tses, Namibia.

Groot Glass plans to set up factories in Tses to manufacture a of glass products for the construction, kitchenware, beverages, pharmaceutical, touch screen devices, automobiles, solar panels and other industrial applications for the local and regional markets.

The company seeks to initially commission two separate glass-manufacturing factories with a capacity of 350tpd container and 600tpd float for the beverages and construction industries, and add later on three separate tableware, ultrathin and fibreglass factories on the site.

Per year power consumption when all five glass-manufacturing factories are commissioned, will be approximately 100.8 million units, and Groot Solar Park plans to export the surplus, which is about 15% of the total output, to the national electricity transmission network (NamPower) for the domestic power consumption.

Namibia generates about 59% of its electricity needs and still imports about 41% of its power supply mainly from South Africa, Zimbabwe, DRC and Zambia. Namibia also trades electricity with the latter two countries.

The Namibian Government wants to reduce imports and increase local generation capacity through renewable energy sources. This policy is also part of the Namibian Government’s national climate change strategy and action plan (2013 – 2020) submitted to the United Nations.

"In this regard, there is a great opportunity for a sustainable 80MW Groot Solar PV Plant development in Tses, to supply the required electricity to the envisaged Groot Glass factories, and supply the surplus to the national grid, which also compliment the energy demand," said V. Sahu, Project Manager of Groot Solar Park.

"To produce our own electricity for our factories and supply the difference to our country is a great relief to our OPEX, which will enable us to pass the saving in electricity costs to our employment creation opportunities," said Elikana Nangolo, Director of Groot Glass and President of Groot Systems.

Expected to cost about USD $284 million (approx. NAD $4 billion), the Groot Solar Park as it expects to have a capacity in direct current (DC) at 80MW will have about approximately 250,000 crystalline silicon modules, which would also include large-scale energy storage and tracking systems.

The commercial operation of Groot Solar Park is estimated to start by mid-2021, with an annual output estimated at 160GWh.

"We estimate that our annual power consumption to about 100.8 Million Units for our five glass manufacturing factories, thus we are looking at having a great savings in electricity and sustainable financial model, possibly to be about USD $18.144 million (with NAD $2.5 per kWh rate)," said Simon Kapenda, Founder of Groot Glass.

Groot Glass looks to appoint a reputable international EPC as the Main Contractor and a qualified local SME as the Subcontractor for the PV Farm, Electrical Substation and Civil Work for the Groot Solar Park in Tses.

Suntrace is an independent expert for the development of solar power projects, which has so far completed solar projects with over 7,000 MW capacity worldwide including the Solar (PV) Power Plant for Ohorongo Cement in Otavi, Namibia.