Zambia Signs Pact with PowerChina to Develop 600 MW of Solar Projects

Zambia-based ZESCO Limited and Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), a wholly state-owned company, have signed three contracts worth $548 million.

The contracts have been signed for 600 MW of grid-connected solar power projects to be developed in Chibombo, Chirundu, and Siavonga districts of Zambia.  According to the company’s statement, the three-grid connected solar PV projects will have a capacity of 200 MW each.

“The signing of the three contracts is historic for ZESCO and Zambia as a whole, as it is a significant step towards diversifying renewable energy development in power generation,” the company stated.

Speaking on occasion, Victor Mulenga Mundende, the managing director of ZESCO Limited, informed that the projects would benefit over one million current and potential customers by increasing access to reliable electricity. He added that the projects would also enhance industrial development and create employment opportunities for the local people.

Historically, Zambia has been reliant on hydropower for 90% of its energy needs. But the country is now facing severe challenges in keeping up with the ever-rising energy demands. Recent droughts have limited hydroelectric power generation.

In December 2019, Mercom reported that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the African Development Fund (AfDB) joined hands to support a $154 million renewable financing framework in Zambia.

Earlier, Univergy Solar, a renewable energy company based in Japan, had announced that it was going to invest more than $200 million in two solar projects in Zambia. This was expected to add nearly 200 MW capacity to the country’s national grid by 2020.

Last year in April, the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs (GET FiT), Zambia Secretariat, had awarded 120 MW of solar PV projects under round one of GET FiT Zambia 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.