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President commissions Zambia’s largest Solar Power plant

Power News - Published on Fri, 15 Mar 2019

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Lusaka Times reported that the 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 (known as “Scaling Solar”). The World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar Project awarded a contract to Neoen to construct a 100 mega watt solar power plant from the planned 500MW under the project.

Neoen holds a majority stake in the Bangweulu solar park and will be selling electricity to ZESCO for the next 25 years at a rate of USD 60.15 per mega watt per hour, the lowest tariff in Sub Saharan Africa.

The project represents a total investment of USD 60 million, USD 39 million of which was contributed by the International Finance Corporation and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

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.

And President Lungu reminded Zesco Limited 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.

Ambassador Foote, taking special note of the unique nature of the Scaling Solar/Zambia program said that “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.”

“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.”

The US government’s development finance institution, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation also provided a USD 13 million senior loan for the project, alongside IFC financing.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 15 Mar 2019
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