Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural resources (BUAN) through its investment arm, BUAN Enterprises (PTY) Ltd recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a South African company which specializes in renewable energy and water solutions called MarketVest (PTY) Ltd to build an Agrivoltaic project.
The project is aimed towards the production of solar power along with growing of vegetables.
BUAN vice chancellor Professor Jasper Rees said: “We are about to make a renewable energy project on a field that we call the 2 hectare project which is the field at the front of the campus on the A1 road which is the most visible part of the campus”. He further highlighted some of the projects that they are carrying out in the field such as the dry land rice farming trials scheduled for this month, horticultural drip irrigation farming and production the earliest maize crop due for the market before Christmas.
The project is a 1 megawatt one which will supply the university with power and remit excess to the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) grid. BUAN Enterprises has secured land for the project through a lease from its shareholder, BUAN and MarketVest secured about P15 million for investment into the project. The solar project is one of the many to be expected out of the partnership. Some of the future projects include customized solar and Agrivoltaic solutions for farmers, mines, schools, clinics while others will be on water cleaning solutions, student housing and aquaculture.
On the other hand, the Andreas Bottiwger MarketVest representative said the project will see Botswana become a player in the renewable energy sector with potential to export power to other countries if the implementation of the project is executed effectively. He also pointed out that the project is well in line with the management of climate change with the utilization of solar energy to generate electricity instead of coal.
The projects will be open for the students for teaching and research and Batswana at large will see smart agriculture being practiced and benchmarking. The projects are meant for revenue generation hence reducing reliance of the University on government coffers.