Following two and a half years of negotiations, the Government of Eswatini has signed a contract with renewable power producer Frazium Energy (FZM) for a 100MW solar park.
The contract allows FZM to operate the large scale solar-storage IPP project in Eswatini for 40 years. In return, FZM will invest $116.5 million over the next five years for the first phase of the project.
The photovoltaic (PV) park will be coupled with battery storage capacity and FZM estimates it will require an investment of $115 million.
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The project, touted as the largest one of its kind in Africa, envisages the installation of the solar farm at the Edwaleni Hydropower Plant (HPP) in Matsapha, central Eswatini.
Planned to span an area of 45ha (111 acres), it will be equipped with 75,000 solar PV panels to produce more than 100 million kWh of electricity annually. The solar park is due to be commissioned in 2022.
Frazium Energy director Robert Frazer said: “We are so grateful to the government of Eswatini for their support, confidence, and belief in our vision for this project, and we are so excited for the role we can play in Eswatini’s and Africa’s green energy future.”
Frazer added. “Africa’s largest battery is coming, and it is coming to Eswatini. The future is not just bright; it is solar-powered.”
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Manqoba Khumalo, Eswatini’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, said: “Frazer Solar has shown again that it is a friend and partner to Eswatini, and a trusted investor and a true pioneer in the future of our energy sector.
“The mega solar-storage project will provide a real and tangible benefit to all Emaswati, both in the creation of at least 200 new jobs, and in the provision of green, solar power, and dispatchable electricity across the Kingdom and beyond.”
The generated electricity will be supplied to countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).