Newspaper Contribution

Solar energy not a cheaper alternative to conventional power: Brown


09 Sep 2019

WINDHOEK, 05 SEP (NAMPA) General Manager of the Renewable Energy Industry Association of Namibia (REIAoN), Harald Schütt has expressed dissatisfaction at regulation that limits independent renewable energy producers from feeding their excess supply to the national grid.

Schütt on Wednesday at the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) panel discussion on Recovering from the economic downturn said NamPower wastes money importing electricity from South Africa.

Coupled with the cost of carbon dioxide emission to the environment, solar energy proves to be cheaper and environmentally friendly, he added.

Schütt said the monopoly of NamPower and the City of Windhoek only allows private individuals who produce solar energy to put back in the grid the equivalent of what they consume in a year.

By de-regulating and allowing surplus producers of solar energy to feed back the excess power into the national grid, money that would have been spent on importing energy from South Africa would remain in the Namibia economy, Schütt said.

Chairperson of EAN, Rowland Brown however disputed Schütt’s comments regarding solar energy as a cheaper alternative to coal generated power supplied by national power utility NamPower.

The potential for solar power as an alternative and cheaper source of energy is overstated, said Brown, who argued that solar energy should be treated with caution until solar power can have good storage.

Brown emphasised that solar panels only produce power for approximately 12 hours in the day, meaning that NamPower still has to meet the demand for those who have solar power when their solar power is not working.

The panel discussion was attended by students, academics and business leaders who posed questions and provided comments to the panellists who included Nangula Uaandja, Country Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Managing Partner of MONASA, Jason Kasuto.