Shumba Energy secured the first equity commitments to develop an $80 million solar project in Botswana as part of the coal company’s plan to shift to renewable energy.
The company’s green energy unit, Shumba Renewables, received commitments of $950,000 from international investors, Shumba Energy’s MD Mashale Phumaphi said in an interview Tuesday, without disclosing the names. Full funding for the 100-megawatt solar project that will be the nation’s largest and situated in north-eastern Botswana is expected by the second quarter of next year, Phumaphi said.
Shumba Energy decided to invest in renewable energy even as the company holds licenses for an estimated 4.6 billion tons of coal in eastern Botswana and is still seeking partners to help develop the resources.
“We believe that as much as coal will play its role, in the long term, renewable energy is where we want to be,” Phumaphi said. “This is a really good time to fast track projects of this nature and for Botswana, it is particularly important because 99% of our generation is from fossil fuels.”
Shumba Energy’s plan for solar was boosted by growing interest in clean energy, and might develop the project in a single phase instead of two as earlier planned, according to Phumaphi. “The equity commitments we have received are to finalize the technical studies that pave way for processes leading to financial close,” he said.