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GIPF invests in local renewable energy, asset manager buys majority stake from NASDAQ-listed company

GIPF invests in local renewable energy, asset manager buys majority stake from NASDAQ-listed company

In a move to shake up the renewable energy sector to include Previously Disadvantaged Persons, local asset manager, Mergence Unlisted Investment Managers on behalf of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) Thursday said that it now owns a majority stake in the 6MW Momentous Solar One plant, located near Keetmanshoop.

The deal saw the local asset manager buy shares from NASDAQ-listed Canadian Solar for an undisclosed amount.

Portfolio Manager with Mergence, Hileni Nghinaunye, said the purchase of a majority stake in the project signals a positive trend to localisation of the industry, “a solar plant owned by Namibians for Namibians”.

The shares purchased from Canadian Solar will be held in the Mergence Namibia Infrastructure Fund Trust on behalf of the GIPF, Nghinaunye added.

According to Nghinaunye, local entrepreneurs, MTJ Investments, have a 30% stake in the plant which has been refinanced by loans from Mergence.

“The restructuring of MTJ’s funding by Mergence makes provision for earlier returns to MTJ Investments allowing MTJ to participate more fully in the project. Post-acquisition, the local ownership of 30% will grow to a minimum of 86% from the investment of the Mergence Namibia Infrastructure Fund. As a sign of further localisation, accounting and reporting previously done offshore will be transferred to a local service provider,” Nghinaunye added.

Momentous Solar One, is the first project that Canadian Solar developed, energised and sold in Africa. It is the third project in Namibia in which Mergence will have a stake, the first two being the Ejuva 1 and 2 plants in Gobabis which was officially opened in August 2018.

According to Mergence, the project near Keetmanshoop will provide solar power generation for a period of 25 years under the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) programme, at the rate of N$1.37 per kWh.

The solar plant has been in commercial operation since November 2017. Powered by 18,480 Canadian Solar CS6U-325P modules, the plant will generate approximately 14,800 MWh of clean energy each year.

The Economist established through calculations at that rate, MTJ Investments can receive around N$2 million income per annum from NamPower.

Meanwhile, Mergence said Canadian Solar will provide operations and maintenance services to the plant for the immediate future.

“There will be further localisation of on-site jobs as seller responsibility for the plant winds down,” they added.


 

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