Univergy Solar, a renewable energy company, based in Japan, is going to invest more than $200 million in two solar projects in the central African nation of Zambia. This is expected to add nearly 200 MW capacity to the country’s national grid by the next year.
Zambia is highly dependent on hydropower, and the country has been in the grip of a severe drought, which has led to an energy deficit of 750 MW due to low water supply at the power generation plants.
According to a statement released by the Zambian embassy in Tokyo, Univergy is expected to develop a 135 MW solar project in Northern Zambia and another 65 MW project in the copper belt region of the country.
Univergy is expected to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambian government soon, and construction work for both the projects will start in the first quarter of 2020. Both projects are expected to be completed within eight months.
The press statement further noted, “The solar power project will be implemented in collaboration with a Zambian company and is expected to create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for local firms engaged in maintaining the solar farms and generation plants.”
Earlier this year, the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs (GET FiT), Zambia Secretariat, had awarded 120 MW of solar projects under round one of its 100 MW solar PV tender. The GET FiT tender had an initial plan to award 100 MW, but due to favorable results, the government of Zambia and GET FiT Investment Committee decided to allocate an additional 20 MW. Six projects of 20 MW were awarded, totaling 120 MW.
Previously, Mercom reported that the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and the government of Canada had joined hands to support Zambia with $25 million in financial aid for clean and affordable energy. The funding will be utilized for the construction of a solar project under the second ‘Scaling Solar’ initiative to meet the country’s ever-growing energy shortage. Scaling Solar is a World Bank initiative that aims to support the development of more than 1 GW of solar power across Africa. It provides competitive bidding and simplified procurement for grid-tied photovoltaic power, even in smaller markets.