The SOLA Group, in a consortium with Globeleq, has been awarded the development of 40 MW of solar power in Zambia. The project forms part of Zambia’s GET FiT programme, designed to assist the Zambian Government in the implementation of renewable energy.
“We are excited to be awarded this opportunity,” says Dr Chris Haw, chairperson of the SOLA board, and founder of the developer company, SOLA Assets. “Once built, these projects will provide reliable and clean electricity to the Zambian government for over 20 years,” he adds.
The projects represent the first phase in Zambia’s procurement of renewable energy, forming part of 100 MW of solar PV capacity. SOLA’s consortium with Globeleq was selected as one of 10 consortiums to submit two project proposals after an initial qualification stage. SOLA’s two projects, “Aurora SOLA 1 and 2”, will consist of 20 MW each.
The GET FiT Zambia programme aims to diversify Zambia’s power mix, as well as encourage private sector participation by a wider range of developers, and boost the operating environment for renewable energy IPPs in Zambia. During their first year, the awarded projects are expected to produce 360 GWh of clean power for the country.
Ryan Anderson, the Tender Agent Team Leader on the GETFiT programme notes, “it is important to recognize that these tariff results represent a truly competitive outcome. Not only were developers required to find and acquire their own suitable sites and pay for shallow grid connection, but GET FiT Zambia has offered no form of grant financing, nor has it arranged for concessional finance.”
“The competitive pricing of the awarded projects shows the affordability of solar PV as an energy source,” says Dr Haw. “Zambia’s commitment to procure clean energy is not just about supporting a low carbon future – it is also about providing affordable energy to grow its economy,” he adds.
With South Africa’s recent electricity crisis and widespread load shedding, there has been much debate about bailing out the embattled state utility, Eskom, versus allowing IPPs to fill the power gap. In Zambia, the awarded energy projects will allow IPPs to provide low-cost energy to the Zambian government, encouraging economic development.