The US government has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) with regards to a plan to build a solar power project of up to 5GW in Botswana and Namibia known as Mega Solar. The US is expected to cooperate with the two nations, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) towards the realization if the mega project.
5GW Solar project in Botswana and Namibia
According to US Ambassador Lisa Johnson, when fully realized, Mega Solar could be one of the largest solar parks in the world, generating 3,000 – 5,000MW of energy. “This could transform Namibia and Botswana into two of the globe’s most significant producers of solar power, enough to begin exporting renewable energy to the southern Africa region. Beyond the economic potential, Mega Solar will help decarbonize southern Africa and will make a significant contribution to global efforts on climate change,” she said.
Mega Solar’s initial goal is to provide additional power from solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal technologies to meet local demand, an ultimate benefit of the collaborative efforts of the Mega Solar partners in strengthening the institutional and technical capacity as well as legal and regulatory frameworks of the focal countries.
The project is a partnership between the Governments of Namibia and Botswana, and others, which is expected to avoid an estimated 6.5 million tons of CO2 annually – the equivalent of taking almost 1.5 million cars off the road. It is part of USAID’s Power Africa Initiative, which is committed to assisting the southern Africa region transform from reliance on fossil fuels to clean energy, enabling a path to decarbonization.
Power Africa Initiative
The Power Africa Initiative – established by the 2013 Electrify Africa Act – is making a difference across sub-Saharan Africa by improving lives, supporting economic growth, and combating climate change through improved access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity.