A German company Cronimet Mining Power Solutions in partnership with SMA Solar Technology, are looking for a market in Botswana with a view to alleviate the country’s power challenges.
Cronimet is a well known player in renewable energy supply specialising in the installation of photovoltaic (PV)-diesel hybrid facility.
The hybrid system, used mainly in mines to reduce diesel consumption and to ensure constant and reliable supply of electricity, generates power from the solar PV facility during the day before switching over to diesel.
Making a presentation last week at Afena Capital Botswana club meeting for the local media, Cronimet’s Managing Director Rollie Armstrong said they were looking into selling the idea to Botswana. The Cronimet team last week toured various mining companies across the country to sell the PV idea.
Armstrong gave testimony that Cronimet Mining has in 2013 constructed the world’s largest solar PV-diesel hybrid facility in Limpopo, South Africa. The photovoltaic plant, with the size of around two hectares, produces up to 1.8 gigawatts of electricity with 4,170 modules per year.
In an interview with Gazette Business, Souleymane Niang, Executive Vice President Business Development, SMA Solar Technology, said capacity for energy generation in the African countries is insufficient because energy demand outstrips development of energy infrastructure.
“The mentioned gap can be regarded as a chance for developing an energy infrastructure that relies on a decentralised energy supply network. The implementation of decentralised energy sources can fill the capacity gap between the current energy supply and the increasing demand,” said Niang.
He further explained that the advantage of this energy generation concept is to provide electricity where it is produced.
Niang said the potential and the advantages of decentralised renewable energies have still not been discovered in Africa emphasising the importance of informing public opinion as well as stake holders in the energy sector on the benefits of photovoltaic energy supply.
PV plants have the potential of covering the increases in energy demand. One of their main advantages is to offer a hedging against higher electricity prices. As the electricity is used on the site where it is produced, it offers the benefit of being independent from the raising prices of fossil resources.