On 11 May 2023, O&L Nexentury GmbH, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group, was granted the advanced water management permit (“gehobene wasserrechtliche Erlaubnis” in German), from the District Administration Office of Karlsruhe, Germany, for the construction and operation of what will be Germany’s largest fully permitted and floating solar photovoltaic (PV) park at this point in time. The solar park will be built on the gravel lake of sand and gravel works company, Philipp & Co KG, in Bad Schönborn, Germany.
With the necessary construction permit issued in February 2023, this permit – valid for 25 years – was the last one needed for O&L Nexentury to start the implementation phase of the project. O&L Europe (fellow O&L subsidiary) and Phillip & Co KG are the co-investors of the solar project which will have a total investment value of about N$350 million. O&L Nexentury plans to commence construction of the solar park in the third quarter of 2023 with the intention for it to be operational by the end of the year.
The solar park will cover more than eight hectares of water surface area (the area of about eight rugby fields) and will consist of over 27 000 PV panels which will create a PV capacity of 15 Megawatts-peak (MWp). About 70% of Phillip & Co KG’s energy needs will be supplied by this solar park, with remaining energy going into the local power grid. Implementation of this solar system will result in a reduction of about 11 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
The solar park will cover approximately 15% of the water surface area of the gravel lake. Empirical research on the lake as an artificial body of water supports that the solar system will not negatively impact the ecosystems of the lake. Construction and operation of the solar system will include a monitoring programme to assess real-time water conditions such as oxygen and mineral levels, ensuring safe and sustainable operations.
Managing Director (MD) of O&L Europe and Co-MD of O&L Nexentury, Steffen Kammerer, expressed his excitement for the pioneering project: “O&L Nexentury has always focused on innovative and sustainable energy solutions and we aim to be pioneers in the field of renewable power generation. With spatial limitations in Germany, as well as the country’s urgent need to transition to renewable energy, there is a demand for innovative solutions that meet these limitations, and artificial bodies of water present that opportunity by not infringing on preserved land.
“As an Independent Power Producer (IPP), this was an exciting move for the company. It currently presents a fairly small niche in renewable energy generation, but one that is needed and tailormade for the transition in Germany towards green energy sources.
“To be able to invest sustainably is exactly what we as O&L Europe strive to do and, in this case, a sustainable investment in Europe yields returns for Namibia too. The returns from our European projects contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the O&L Group, and that, in turn, spurs the growth of the Namibian economy. On an international scale, by supporting Germany’s transition to green energy sources, we support the energy transition that is becoming global. We look forward to this project and future ones as we are busy to develop and roll out more solar solutions on artificial bodies of water.”
O&L Executive Chairman, Sven Thieme, also shared his enthusiasm: “We are thrilled to see a Namibian company, our company, making such significant inroads into the German market. This achievement is a demonstration of our ability to compete on a global scale. It aligns perfectly with our O&L Vision 2025, which involves diversifying our income streams and strengthening our balance sheet. It also provides a natural foreign exchange currency hedge for our income statement.
Overall, this accomplishment is a crucial step towards our long-term financial goals.”