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The 34MW Ngonye solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, which is located in Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone, has commenced operations.

Located in the south of Zambia, the plant, which is being developed by Enel Green Power (EGP), is part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme carried out by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). In June 2016, the project awarded EGP the right to develop, finance, construct, own and operate the plant.

The Ngonye solar plant, which is owned by a special purpose vehicle, 80% held by EGP and 20% by IDC, is supported by a 25-year power purchase agreement signed with Zambia’s state-owned utility, ZESCO.

Once fully up and running, the facility is expected to produce around 70GWh per year, while avoiding the annual emission of over 25,600 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Read more: GET FiT Zambia awards 120MW(AC) in a solar PV tender

“Through this project, we are boosting the government’s ambitious push to improve access to electricity throughout the country, while diversifying its generation mix to hedge against severe drought and climate change effects. This successful project also confirms that effectively-designed development programmes, like Scaling Solar, are key to attracting private renewable investments in Africa," said Antonio Cammisecra, head of Enel Green Power.

The Enel Group invested approximately $40 million in the construction of Ngonye.

In June 2018, Enel signed a financing agreement with IDC of around $34 million for the construction of the PV plant, involving senior loans of up to $10 million from the International Financing Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, up to $12 million from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Programme and up to $11.75 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB).