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Outapi looks to the sun for energy

2021-09-30  Festus Hamalwa

Outapi looks to the sun for energy
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The local solar plant has been providing power to the grid since 2018, and Outapi in the Omusati region plans to provide solar energy directly to households as well as for streetlights. 

The solar plant in Outapi was established in October 2018 at a cost of N$119 million, and is owned by Camelthorn Business Venture No.2. This solar plant is 90% owned by private individuals and 10% by the Outapi Community Trust.

The chief executive officer of Outapi Town Council, Matheus Nashilongo Ananias, said this solar plant provides electricity to NamPower that distributes it to Nored, which supplies to council that supplies electricity to houses and businesses.

“This kind of electricity is pollution-free and doesn’t cause any harm to the environment. It is a renewable, clean power that is available every day of the year. Even when it is cloudy, it provides some power,” he explained. 

Ananias added that solar street lighting could help increase visibility to reduce crime, reduce night-time crashes, minimise the glare to motorists and help people feel safe as well as provide electricity within Outapi. 

The solar plant created job opportunities, employing six people.

Ananias said the town council plans to come up with their own solar plant that will supply electricity directly to Outapi, adding that this will also save the costs which the town council is currently paying to Nored.

“We are planning to set up our own solar plant so that it will provide electricity to houses within our town, and this will provide more job opportunities to the youth of Outapi,” he stated.

The aim is to provide streetlights to every street in Outapi, and also to motivate other towns to have similar projects as it aims to improve people’s standard of living.

There are, however, several challenges, including the unavailability of sun rays that would sometimes make determining how much energy to store for future use difficult. 

“People tend to steal solar panels, which are also expensive when you purchase them, while solar poles get damaged by drivers through accidents,” he continued.

The town council has already started educating Outapi residents on how they function and how they could be handled with care so that they last longer and serve the town.

“We are planning on coming up with awareness campaigns about solar electricity and some of the dangers it may pose,” he stated.

2021-09-30  Festus Hamalwa

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