Botswana plans photovoltaic solar power plant to produce up to 200 MW

Botswana’s Shumba Coal said on Tuesday it plans to develop a solar power station to generate up to 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity as the world’s top diamond producer struggles with power shortages.


Botswana is currently experiencing power and water shortages, which its central bank warned last month could undercut aims to maintain growth above 4 percent.

Shumba Coal said the project will initially produce 100MW and increase to 200 MW over an unspecified period of time.

The project will include an initial installation of 400,000 photovoltaic cells in an area of 200 hectares, the company said.

“We see solar energy as complimentary to our coal-based energy projects,” Mashale Phumaphi, Shumba’s managing director, said in a statement.

Power from the station would supply upcoming copper mines in the Kalahari copper belt, which are currently not connected to the national grid, officials have previously said.

Cupric Canyon Capital, a private equity firm backed by a unit of Barclays Plc, said on June 9 it would begin construction of a copper mine in Botswana’s Kalahari copper belt in 2016, near where the solar power station will be located.