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BUAN launches history-making energy project

15 Mar 2023

Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) yesterday launched a renewable energy project said to be the first in Botswana and the first of its magnitude in Africa. 

The agric-voltaic project, which combines harvesting solar energy and crop production, is expected to produce about one kilowatt of electricity for BUAN campus during the day while excess would be sold to Botswana Power Cooperation (BPC).

“To confirm that this project is indeed sustaining the university, we have been earlier informed that during the day, BUAN not only supplies itself with electricity, but also sells the excess power to Botswana Power Corporation,” said vice president and BUAN chancellor Mr Slumber Tsogwane at the launch.

He said the project would go a long way towards achieving financial sustainability for the university.

He said the country’s Integrated Electricity Resource Plan stipulated that by 2036, at least 15 per cent of electricity should come from renewables.

"As government, we made a commitment to embark on a process of moving away from our carbon-intense modes of energy generation,” said the vice president.

He said government encouraged state-owned enterprises to partner with the private sector on capital projects and raise their own revenues to reduce over reliance on limited government funding.

Mr Tsogwane said the BUAN project was an example of the public private partnership model.

He informed his audience that the Ministry of Minerals and Energy had put in place policies that promoted the development of renewable energy projects.

The vice president encouraged  the public and private sector to familiarise themselves with the policies.

Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development Mr Aubrey Lesaso, whose portfolio includes BUAN, noted that the adoption of agri-voltaic had become widespread.

He said it was gratifying that BUAN had pioneered the technology in Botswana to drive the country’s sustainable food and energy production.

“This project is a noble step towards averting the effects of climate change, attaining food security, energy efficiency and water conservation,” he said.

For his part, BUAN vice chancellor, Professor Ketlhatlogile Mosepele described the project as a private and public sector collaboration success story.

He said the project infused innovation and technology in the production of systems.

The agri-voltaic solar power plant,  which is visible from the A1  Highway, comprises 1 840 mounted solar panels with the land underneath being used to grow crops thus allowing dual use of the same land. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABORONE

Event : Launch

Date : 15 Mar 2023