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SOLAR POWER IN NAMIBIA

By

G.S. HAMUTWE JR


Executive Summary

Namibia, a vast country with a population density of two people per square kilometre, makes her energy supply infrastructure development a major investment sector. With Namibia having such a low population density and energy intensive industries, the diversification of energy supply sources for household energy needs and industry is high on the agenda.

As the country is so sparsely populated, the establishment of an electricity network that would reach even the very remote households would logically be a non-economically viable undertaking.  It is against the abovementioned background that the Namibian energy sector had been eagerly evaluating the development of Namibia*s vast and untapped renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Though the Namibian current electricity distribution network is one of excellence, reaching out to almost two in every five households, the majority of Namibian*s living in the rural areas does not have access to modern energy services.  The promotion of the use of alternative energy sources such as solar for basic energy services such as lighting and communication therefore enjoys priority at present, from both public and private institutions.

Though Namibia has only a population of 1.7 million, her high population growth rate of 3.2% compounded by a fastly expanding industrial sector, makes the continuously increasing energy demand a challenge that needs to be addressed urgently.  Since the rural folks use mainly wood  for energy services, the impact to the environment of the continued large-scale use of wood for fuel in rural areas had also been raised as a growing point of concern.  As in the rest of Africa, the success associated with the substitution of environmentaly unfriendly energy sources such as wood with modern energy efficient technologies in the rural areas had been adversely affected, as the finances to acquire those technologies are in most cases out of reach of the rural folks, who in most cases live on subsistence farming without a fixed monetary income.

The Namibian government had also committed itself to the development of Namibia*s renewable energy resources, as it realises the contributions renewable energies will bring about to the government*s energy policy goals of amongst others; ensuring security of energy supply through diversification of sources;sustainable development and use of energy sources; and effective governance and planning of the energy sector.


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