Zambia Commissions First Utility Scale Solar Farm – 54 Megawatts

  • The 54 Mw Bangweulu project has been developed by Neoen and First Solar
  • The solar farm will deliver 47.5 megawatts of electricity at $0.06/kWh, among the most affordable prices in Africa for a solar PV farm.
  • The PPA is for a 25 year term.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has commissioned the country’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) farm on Monday this week .

The 54 Mw Bangweulu project was developed by Neoen and First Solar, a French-American Independent Power Producer consortium, under the management of the Industrial Development Corporation and in partnership with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation Scaling Utility-Scale Solar Program.

The U.S. government’s development finance institution, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), also provided a $13 million senior loan for the project, alongside IFC financing.

The solar farm will deliver 47.5 megawatts of electricity at $0.06/kWh, among the most affordable prices in Africa for a solar PV farm. The PPA is for a 25 year term.

During the launch, President Lungu praised the IDC for taking up the challenge to create an energy mix to bring solar power into the national electricity grid in response to the electricity deficit that affected the country in 2015.

He said the high demand for electricity was an opportunity for players in the energy sector to mobilise resources and invest in the sector. The president also, the state energy utility, to ensure all districts in the country have access to power as it was one critical component in the development process.

President Lungu also urged the IDC to speed up the process of bringing into reality other pending solar power plants across the country.

“This project is not development as usual, but it is about partnership. It is an investment, where our governments supported a business model that makes sense,” said Ambassador Foote, taking special note of the unique nature of the Scaling Solar/Zambia program.

“It delivers value for the Zambian people and value for the private sector. This partnership made Zambia’s first utility-scale solar project feasible, providing affordable power to Zambian households, schools, hospitals, and businesses.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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