13 December 2012

Namibia: Solar Power Becomes a Trend in Windhoek

THE companies Solar World and Solar Age have made a combined effort in bringing solar energy to households and businesses across Namibia, including the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Gregor Küpper, managing director of Solar World Africa, and Conrad Roedern, managing director and founder of Solar Age Namibia, presented their achievements and the economic potential of solar energy for Namibia’s energy needs to the media last week.

“Solar power is taking off in Namibia. We can see that the public is also starting to take note of this,” Roedern said at the presentation.

Solar World Africa, a German company with a branch in Cape Town, and Solar Age Namibia, with branches in Windhoek and Ongwediva, have been providing solar systems to huts in rural areas, installed solar-powered streetlights, solar home systems, solar panels for industries, as well as solar power for water pumps.

Besides these, the companies sell solar modules, batteries, inverters, battery chargers, solar water heaters and solar cellphone-charging stations. They also manufacture power gauges, power points and power guards.

“Fossil fuels pollute the environment with high carbon dioxide emissions; as for nuclear energy, it is risky. Therefore, solar energy is very important for Africa. Not only is it good for the environment because of a massive reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, but it is also financially viable,” said Küpper.

The price of solar modules vary depending on household size and energy needs. Therefore, customers are advised to bring along their electricity bill to determine the size of the module needed.

“We see that rooftop applications are becoming more successful and it is good to see an acceptance of the integration of solar into grid systems. In the future we would like to see the decentralisation of electricity production,” said Roedern.

With demand-side management (DSM), the consumer is able to avoid unnecessary consumption, reduce necessary consumption, optimise ‘time of use’ patterns and avoid ‘peak demand’ situations.

The two companies recently installed solar panels on the rooftops of /Ae //Gams Woermann and Brock in Klein Windhoek, the NamPower headquarters, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as well as the International Pharmacy in Klein Windhoek. They also installed a solar system at the University of Namibia campus in Ongwediva.

Roedern said he believes the government supports net metering, which allows the consumer to sell excess energy to the municipality. However, this has not taken effect and a new law that supports this will only be introduced in 2014.

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