Botswana is set to is set to award a tender for 100 MW of solar capacity plant to an independent power producer (IPP). This is after it cancelled the selection process aimed at identifying a JV partner for the power project.
Initially, the government through state-run Botswana Power Corporation, had issued a tender seeking investors for the construction of two 50 MW PV plants as part of a joint venture with a local utility but it was cancelled recently and will now be redefined as an IPP project, with investors to become 100% owners of the two plants.
“The project was nullified to allow for a fresh procurement process to be conducted with the new Terms of Reference (ToR) in line with the desired project structure,” said BPC.
The power utility said that potential investors will be expected to establish partnerships with local companies for joint project ownership, construction and O&M. If built, the two facilities will be the country’s first large-scale PV plants.
The winner will be in charge of the development, permitting, financing, design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic (PV) park.
The 100 MW solar plant tender was the second solar tender that the utility has cancelled in recent years. The government of Botswana issued a similar expression of interest for a concentrated solar power installation in 2015, but the project was never implemented. BPC also launched a new tender for 12 IPP solar projects last November.
Botswana, like other countries in the region, faces the threat of continuous electricity shortages due to technical problems at its 600 MW coal-fired power plant, known as Morupule B. It’s been estimated energy demand in the country will likely double by 2035. Solar and renewable energy are expected to help Botswana reduce its dependence on power imports from troubled South African utility Eskom.