Construction of a 950kWp photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB)’s offices in Gaborone, Botswana has begun. The company is hoping the solar power project will enable it attain energy self-sufficiency.
Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), a 50/50 joint venture between the State of Botswana and the international diamond mining and trading company De Beers, is developing the solar project in two phases.
The first phase will provide 350kWp to power its premises in Gaborone during the day. The 600kWp second phase which will be built later will play the same role, facilitating DTCB Botswana’s role in facilitating, stimulating and supporting the creation of a vibrant, sustainable and profitable diamond industry in the southern African country through superior sorting and valuation practices.
Power demand in Botswana
About 29% of power demand in Botswana currently, is covered by domestic coal power generation, which comes from the 600MW coal-fired power plant known as Morupule B. The remaining 71% comprises of power imports from her neighbor South Africa. However, due to several technical problems with the Morupule B plant, the country is currently suffering from chronic power shortages.
The government of Botswana through the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE), recently launched a net metering scheme for rooftop PV systems called the Rooftop Solar Programme (RTS) in order to create an enabling environment for end users who can generate their own electricity and sell to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and also to improve the country’s PV installed capacity which was at 3MW at the end of last year. Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the scheme will run for 3 years and is expected to generate 10MW of PV power in the first 12 months.