06 March 2016, Windhoek — First Solar Inc this week announced that HopSol AG, a Swiss solar developer, has selected its high-performance thin film modules to power the Otjozondjupa Solar Park, which is located near Grootfontein.
When completed in June, the 5 megawatts (MW)AC facility will be Namibia’s largest grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, and is expected to account for approximately 1% of the country’s total generation capacity.
The utility-scale project is being developed by HopSol Africa, a subsidiary of the Zurich-headquartered company. Powered by over 52 000 First Solar modules, the power plant will supply almost 14 000 megawatt- hours (MWh) of electricity per year to NamPower.
“Our decision to select First Solar’s thin film modules was primarily driven by the operating conditions in the area. We needed a reliable module technology that would thrive in the hot temperatures which are common in the summer months and also deliver energy in cloudy, low-light conditions. In fact, by our estimates, thin film modules deliver up to 10% more energy in Namibia than conventional silicon PV panels,” stated Robert Hopperdietzel, chairman of HopSol AG.
The facility will utilise single-axis tracking technology to maximise energy yield by up to 25%, and will generate enough energy to power approximately 3 700 average households in Namibia.
The country has a total generation capacity of approximately 430MW, and imports over half of its power from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
“The Otjozondjupa Solar Park exemplifies Namibia’s ambitions of energy security and demonstrates the role that cost- competitive solar can play in an independent power production ecosystem,” said Nasim Khan, vice president for Africa at First Solar.
First Solar has 10 000 MW installed worldwide.
The company’s global footprint includes two manufacturing facilities in the United States and Malaysia. Its regional headquarters for Africa is located in Cape Town.