The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) has donated a Solar Trailer Training System worth 10 000 Euros to the University of Botswana’s Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) during a ceremony at the UB Conference Centre on March 10, 2017. The trailer has been designed to demonstrate different concepts of thermal technology and enhance training in design, installation and the maintenance of these systems. It will also be used in public awareness campaigns to demonstrate such concepts.
Handing over the trailer to the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs and Student Welfare, Professor Martin Mokgwathi, ADA representative, Mr Rudi Moschik, said the donation would go a long way in helping not only the University but the country as whole in the quest to generate more energy. He said results from the project would be realised through determined learning on how to use the trailer and mastering it in order to get maximum yield.
He added that the solar thermal trailer needs to be put to maximum use if it were to meet its goal, and for Botswana to be one of the leading countries in solar energy utilisation in the next 20 years. However, Mr Moschik said at the end it was up to those charged with execution to make use of the project to achieve the set goals. He noted that the SOLTRAIN project would continue for the next two years.
The Director of the Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), Dr. Edwin Matlotse, said SOLTRAIN was a 2009 regional initiative on capacity building and the demonstration of solar thermal systems in the SADC region. He said it is sponsored by ADA and co-funded by OPEC Fund for International Development. He added that the aim is to give targeted countries support in transforming from a largely fossil energy supply system to a sustainable supply structure based on renewable energy through solar thermal catering for cooling and heating to reduce the strain on the electricity grid system.
“With this trailer, we will be able to undertake public awareness campaigns and enhance training as it demonstrates all the solar thermal technologies,’’ he said. Dr. Matlotse said CERC would ensure that the project becomes a success.
He further called on partner institutions from Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to work closely together to share information and experiences for the success of the project. Universities and institutions in these countries are meant to share information and experiences to ensure the success of the project. The project is sponsored to the tune of 3, 400 000.00 EURO, of which 176, 575.00 EURO is dedicated to Botswana for the period of three years from March 1, 2016.
The guest speaker, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Mr Dikatso Mokotedi, emphasised the importance of society benefiting from the project to increase awareness on thermal technology and the use solar energy to improve the quality of life.
Mr Mokotedi added that his ministry together with that of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy had already initiated a project to explore the possibility of energy preservation. “We want to explore the possibility of complementing the power we already have with solar energy’’ he added.
He also outlined that the SOLTRAIN project was in its third phase, and Botswana only joined Phase Two in 2016. He said that during the period, Botswana had already made strides in that 50 people had already been trained. Meanwhile, the 2018 SOLTRAIN will be hosted by Botswana.