HopSol delivers cheaper energy
Local Independent Power Producer HopSol recently secured a loan facility to the tune of N$170 million from Standard Bank Namibia. This happened after its Chairman, Dr. Robert Hopperdietzel earlier proudly told the Economist that the energy it was selling to CENORED, the regional electricity distributor in the central area, is cheaper than what Nampower can provide.
“Our tariffs are lower than those of CENORED. They are very economical,” he boasted. But Dr Hopperdietzel did not want to disclose the tariff it was charging the distributor, calling the matter confidential.
Explaining the technicalities of their solar plant, he said that the panels HopSol has installed were in fact tested against the most extreme of conditions through what he mentioned was the Atlas 25 test, a quality check so severe, Hopperdietzel said not many solar panel manufacturers successfully passed it. According to him, HopSol was using thin solar panels which are also in use across Saudi Arabia, indicating that HopSol’s panels would withstand the intense blaze of the local sun.
Its existing solar power station currently provides power to approximately 2500 houses in Otjiwarongo and is currently the largest in terms of generation capacity.
Hopperdietzel added that most of the work was done out of the Windhoek office and included the project design, planning and management for all its projects in southern Africa. “We have trained a lot of locals. Most of the staff of HopSol are locals. When we came here we had to train the locals because they did not have the knowledge nor experience,” Hopperdietzel said speaking off the cuff.
A proud Hopperdietzel added that the electricity HopSol sold to regional energy distributor CENORED from its Otjiwarongo solar plant was in fact cheaper than the energy NamPower provides to CENORED. It is thus no fluke that Standard Bank recently provided a loan to the Independent Power Producer of N$170 million, a deal described by its Head of Commercial Property Finance, Magnus Grobler as impeccable.
“We are committed to sustainability through growth and developing Namibia’s natural resources by supporting renewable power initiatives,” Grobler remarked.
The construction of the Grootfontein solar power station from which NamPower sources power, Hopperdietzel added, is currently underway but he refused to divulge any detail on HopSol’s second major solar installation.
HopSol became the first and only Independent Power Producer to sign a Power Purchase Agreement with a regional electricity distributor in July 2015.