BOTSWANA: BPC to buy power from Bobonong and Shakawe solar plants

Sturdee Energy is taking another step forward in the implementation of its Bobonong and Shakawe solar power projects in Botswana. The Johannesburg, South Africa-based independent power producer (IPP) has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the state-owned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). Under the terms of the agreement, the state-owned company will purchase the electricity generated by the two solar power plants over a 25-year period.

The larger solar plant will be built in the Bobonong sub-district in the east of the country, with an expected capacity of 3 MWp. The electricity generated by this plant will be fed into the BPC grid from a 66/33 kV substation. The Shakawe solar plant, with an expected capacity of 1 MWp, will be located in the north of the country. Its output will feed into the Botswana national grid from the 33/11 kV Shakawe substation.

Gaining autonomy from South Africa

“The signing of the two PPAs marks an important step in the adoption of renewable energy in Botswana’s new electricity mix and increases our country’s energy security in an environmentally sustainable manner. The two solar PV projects mark the start of the roll-out of twelve grid-connected solar PV projects, which are scheduled for completion by the end of 2022. When completed, these projects will bring a total of 35 MW of clean energy to our grid,”says David Kgoboko, BPC’s chief executive officer.

The Botswana government granted the first permits for the construction of the two solar plants in 2019, with the aim of diversifying its electricity mix. According to Power Africa, Botswana has 450 MW of installed capacity from the Morupule B coal-fired plant. Faced with a demand of 550 MW, the country imports 150 MW from South Africa, a country facing load shedding.

The Bobonong and Shakawe solar power plants will also allow Botswana to become more self-sufficient with regard to its neighbour South Africa. Sturdee Energy estimates that the two plants will supply 10 000 MWh of electricity to the national grid in the first year of operation. The construction of the solar plants will require an investment of $5 million.

Jean Marie Takouleu