6 December 2012

Namibia: Woermann Group Goes Green

WOERMANN Supermarket Group, a Namibian retail company, has installed the biggest solar power plant on grid in Namibia yet and they urge their competitors to follow their example.

“This is the start of a much larger project and we are proud to announce the installation of the biggest solar plant in Namibia thus far,” said Woermann marketing manager Konrad Schwieger.

The system, which cost N$13 million, delivers up to 40% of the company’s electricity needs in Khomasdal and Eros. It was switched on on November 12 and so far has yielded 38 megawatt-hours of solar power.

“This means about 330 tons of carbon emissions will be reduced for a year,” said Björn Wilschke, CEO of HopSolAfrica in Windhoek.

The Woermann group anticipates bringing solar panels to Woermann supermarkets across the country. An additional 200 solar panels are expected to be installed at other branches across Namibia. This will cost the company up to N$100 million.

During a press conference on Tuesday, HopSol, a Swiss mother company with branches in Windhoek and South Africa, said that solar energy is the best investment any company could make.

“The Woermann Supermarket Group as the first retailer to go green with the biggest solar power plant in Namibia is evident of the group’s vested interest in sustainable energy for Namibia at large,” Wilschke said.

Overflow electricity is fed into the municipal grid which is consumed by the public, said Wilschke.

“The solar panels have a lifespan of 25 years and give you a pay-back calculation of up to six years,” said Wilschke.

He added that the panels which are placed parallel to the Woermann Hyper building’s roof are free of cadmium and lead, which are poisonous elements and cannot be recycled.

According to the presentation, HopSol solar plants produce electricity at a cost level equal or below present electricity prices. Tariffs with solar panels will remain at a constant of N$1 over the next four to five years, whereas standard electricity tariffs are expected to increase, said Wilscke.

“Solar energy is definitely the perfect answer to Namibia’s energy crisis,” he said.

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