Namibia: Tsumeb harnesses solar power to supply water

Solar panels.

*Solar panels.

12 September 2015, Windhoek – Tsumeb Municipality inaugurated a N$3 million solar power plant yesterday that will be used to pump water from three of its boreholes that produce potable drinking water for the town.

Chief town engineer at Tsumeb Municipality Junias Jakob said the 350-kilowatt solar plant will reduce the cost of pumping water for Tsumeb by 40 percent. He said the plant will convert solar energy to electrical energy, following which the power will be sent onto the Cenored grid.

He noted that Tsumeb municipality spends N$800 000 a month on electricity costs to pump water from the boreholes to produce potable drinking water for its residents.

“As we speak, the municipality spends around N$800 000 monthly on electricity costs just to pump water for the residents. The solar plant will convert solar energy into electrical energy which will be stored in the Cenored grids and this will in turn reduce the tariffs on electricity,” said the chief town engineer. Jakob said the town council will now be saving on electricity costs, but will also be creating a storage facility for the electricity produced through the solar plant.

“We will also recover our capital cost of three million dollars over the next four years, as the plant is on a ten-year maintenance plan,” he further explained.

Tsumeb uses its surrounding boreholes to produce water for the town’s residents. The new plant will only cater for three boreholes. However, the CEO of Tsumeb said plans are underway to expand the use of solar power to other boreholes. Tsumeb currently pumps 40 cubic metres of water per hour from each borehole.

Also speaking at the inauguration, the Mayor of Tsumeb, Ndangi Shetekela, said the new plant was an attempt to secure very important and essential natural sources, such as water and energy sources.

“What we are doing here is to secure our future by using natural resources to create security for our water, as well as electricity. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” he noted.

The initiative is expected to ease the burden of the ever-mounting pile of water and electricity debts owed to the municipality by residents, which currently stands at N$94 million.
*New Era

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