By Staff Reporter
WINDHOEK, March 17 — Namibia is a country with abundant sunlight and an increasing number of businesses are recognizing the potential of solar power as a reliable source of energy. The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) is helping these businesses to invest in solar energy installations by providing financing. DBN’s Executive of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Jerome Mutumba, recently announced that three enterprises have used DBN finance to strengthen their enterprises with solar energy.
The three businesses that have recently benefited from DBN finance include a truck and tractor repair plant in Gobabis, a charcoal manufacturer also near Gobabis, and a large retail outlet in Okahandja. These businesses are located in different parts of Namibia, which demonstrates the potential of solar installations to benefit businesses across the country.
According to Mutumba, the cost of connecting to the grid and the cost of grid consumption may be prohibitively expensive in some cases. In these cases, the cost of renewable energy becomes economical in the medium to long term. The initial cost can be written off against future savings and gains. In addition, independent power generation for own consumption becomes an attractive form of security for business continuity whether the business is grid-reliant or not.
Mutumba highlights that the trend towards own generation by the Namibian private sector, through solar power, has become more prevalent, with widely reported capacity installed by large retail facilities and fuel outlets. This trend is in line with new approaches in environmental and social governance (ESG). Moreover, own generation by businesses alleviates calls on the national grid, making electricity available for household consumption and enterprises that are not able to establish their own solar generation.
The net impact of greater enterprise security directly linked to the preservation of employment is beneficial for the country’s development, according to Mutumba. The next frontier in the field of solar generation is an installation in affordable housing developments, taking the form of solar water heating and/or generation for household use. Although the initial cost will be passed on to the owner of the new home, the increment in cost has the medium to the long-term effect of making home ownership more affordable on a monthly basis.
DBN provides finance under multiple sectoral facilities, including tourism, retail and wholesale, manufacturing, transport and logistics, as well as an addition to affordable housing developments. The Bank’s KfW-supported recovery loan may also be a source of finance, and although the loan has a short duration of 32 months or less, enterprises that have reserves and are in a position to repay faster should consider the opportunity.
In conclusion, Mutumba says that if businesses benefit from solar, DBN has a duty to support it and add it to their operational sustainability. The potential of solar power in Namibia is vast and DBN is playing an essential role in helping businesses to harness this potential. By investing in solar energy installations, businesses are not only securing their energy supply but also contributing to the country’s sustainable development. – Namibia Daily News