The solar power plant forms part of the living laboratory concept adopted by TUM’s Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) Center, in collaboration with eight partner institutions, including NUST. The purpose of the project, funded by the German Academic Exchange (DAAD), is to provide practical training to postgraduate students in the solar energy field.
A living lab is a physical area in which various stakeholders collaborate new technologies, services, products and systems in real-life contexts.
The Lab’s 20 kilowatts peak solar power was designed and specified by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DECE) in the Faculty of Engineering at NUST and constructed by the Namibian Engineering Corporation (NEC).
“In line with the available funds, we chose a location with a few homes, but which has the potential for agricultural and other entrepreneurial activities,” Prof James Katende from the DECE said.
The Lab will serve as a lighthouse project for the next ten to 25 years for teaching and research related to energy transition, rural electrification, and the entrepreneurial productive use of electricity.
“The Living Lab will be a bedrock for teaching and research on concepts of sustainable energy and entrepreneurship. We foresee the development of new curricula and research theses incorporating the activities of the Living Lab are expected to happen soon,” Prof Katende explained.
Gaos Juliane Gawa-!Nas, Chief of /Khomanin Traditional Community, said that her community is mostly impoverished, and will now have to be creative in utilising the solar plant through employment opportunities by means of aquaculture and hydroponics projects.
The aim of the project i is to exploit Namibia’s abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and biomass. In addition, the project envisions a complete socio-economic transformation of the community by 2024.