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Botswana pioneers pilot solar power station with Japanese aid

In September this year, Botswana’s first power station is due to be built with the intention – should it be a success – to replicate this model throughout the country and move away from coal generated power.
The Phakalane solar power station will generate one megawatt and construction will be funded by the Japanese government. Building will commence in September, under a possible Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management (EPCM) arrangement with a Japanese firm. At P83.8 million, the station will become Botswana's first photo voltaic power station, potentially opening avenues for further development of the solar power station sector. Tendering for various components of the station is set to begin in March and after completion the station will be connected to the national grid.

Embassy of Japan officials have recently said they would closely monitor the performance of the pilot power station, with a view to possibly undertaking similar initiatives elsewhere in Botswana. "The power station in Phakalane will be a small operation, one megawatt, but if it proves successful, we will consider more and bigger projects in Botswana. This is looking at the current situation with electricity in Botswana and the region.

It is understood further support from Japan towards photo voltaic stations would consist less of cash and more of technical support, given the confining costs of developing large solar power stations.

Additional information:
News date: 11/02/2010

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