Who, What & Where

  • Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU), Namibia Energy Institute (NEI) and Partners

  • Tsumkwe Energy Project (TEP), Pathway to Renewable Off-Grid Community Energy for Development (PROCEED)  (304 kWp PV power, 600 diesel power, 3,025 kWh battery capacity)

  • Tsumkwe, Namibia

The Company

The HNU is divided into three academic departments: Health Management, Information Management, and Business and Economics. At its Center for Professional and Postgraduate Studies, it also groups the degree programmes and offerings aimed at employees who have already gained work experience. To step up collaboration with business companies, the several centers  have been created at the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU). These combine academic training and continuing education with applied research and business practice. Besides technology transfer, the centers strive to transfer knowledge between universities in Germany and abroad.

The Challenge

Tsumkwe is located in the north-eastern part of Namibia. The distance to the next settlement, Grootfontein, that provides access to basic services is 304 km away. Due to the remote character and based on Namibia’s Rural Electricity Distribution Master Plan, Tsumkwe is classified as an off-grid area. Based on the resulting high connecting costs, Tsumkwe will not be connected to the grid in the near future.

Renewable Solution

The European Commission, NamPower and the OTRC, funded the resulting project. The installed hybrid mini-grid is comprised of solar PV panels with 202 kWp complemented by a 650 diesel generator. The battery backup had a capacity of 766 kWh.

Project Financing and Costs

The European Commission (75%), NamPower (14%) and the OTRC (11%) funded the TEP with 2.99 million EUR. The research and consultancy PROCEED is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with approximately 1.25 million EUR.

Project Outcome

The Namibian government’s share thereby primarily benefited from the introduction of energy-efficiency appliances, for example, electric water heaters were replaced by solar water heaters, electric stoves were replaced with gas burners, and households were equipped with energy-efficient light bulbs. 50 residents, who were not connected to the mini-grid, received electric lanterns, which could be recharged at the solar charging kiosk.

Next Steps

Interviews with community members have been conducted to better understand the situation, particularly with regards to the reliability of the system and the affordability of the tariffs. In general, community members were satisfied with the availability of uninterrupted electricity, even though they did not perceive the unit prices to be reasonable. This outcome will support the possible development of a new tariff model to be combined with measures that further improve energy efficiency among the population to reduce peak load in the long term.