Namibia, Botswana to build 5,000-MW solar project

Solar panels are pictured at the new 15 MWp photovoltaic (PV) power plant supplying the Canadian mining company Iamgold's Essakane gold mine on its inauguration on March 16, 2018 near Dori in northern Burkina Faso. (Photo by Ahmed OUOBA / AFP) (Photo credit should read AHMED OUOBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Namibia and Botswana are set to sign an agreement to jointly develop a solar project of up to 5,000 megawatts capacity, officials said Friday.

Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said the two countries have partnered with Power Africa, a U.S. government entity that aims to boost electricity investment in Africa, to help structure the deal.

The project will see installations built across both countries and the power produced will be exported to the Southern African region.

“I can confirm that the two countries are in discussions with Power Africa to develop a solar power project. The agreement to be signed will facilitate a full feasibility study that will determine the size and the location of the plants.” Alweendo said.

The two countries are yet to finalize details on potential sites for the plants, cost sharing and other technical details.

Namibia currently imports over 60 percent of its electricity from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to meet the shortfall in domestic generation.