Source: Mergence Unlisted Investment Managers (Namibia)

Local asset manager Mergence Unlisted Investment Managers (Namibia) has bought a majority stake for an undisclosed sum in the 6MWp Momentous Solar One solar energy plant, located near Keetmanshoop.

The seller is NASDAQ-listed Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar power companies.

Hileni Nghinaunye, Portfolio Manager with Mergence, said: “The purchase of a majority stake in the Keetmanshoop 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 Namibian Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF).

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“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 Namibia makes provision for earlier returns to MTJ Investments allowing MTJ to more fully participate 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," said Nghinaunye.

She added: "As a sign of further localisation, accounting and reporting previously done offshore will be transferred to a local service provider."

Momentous Solar One Pty (Ltd) 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.

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The Momentous Solar One project near Keetmanshoop will provide solar power generation for a period of 25 years under the Namibian government’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) programme, at the rate of NAD1.37 ($0.10) 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.

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.