NamPower
In Southern Africa, Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has stated that the country will soon implement a solar project in efforts to reduce dependency on hydropower.

On Saturday, Lungu commissioned a $200 million, 100MW first phase of a solar PV project at Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone.

According to the Times of Zambia, the solar project is planned to have a total capacity of 600MW, with the full implementation of the project anticipated to cost $1.2 billion.

“The difficult realities of climate change have taught us that over-reliance on hydropower won’t just do. I am here to promise you that we shall continue to walk-the-talk in every way possible,” Lungu said.

Solar PV project

Lungu added that he had directed the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to drive the urgent installation of at least 600MW of solar power in order to restore the current power deficit in Zambia.

IDC Zambia is an investment company wholly owned by the Zambian government with a broad spectrum of industries including the energy sector.

“This is a proud moment for us in government and [the] IDC in particular because when we say we have embarked on a credible diversification programme across various sectors, we mean just that,” the President noted.

Lungu highlighted that this project will be Zambia’s first solar PV independent power project adding that it would be implemented through the Scaling Solar Programme.

Multiple financiers

The President extended gratitude to the project’s financiers including the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank group and the US government through the Obama Power Africa Initiative for complementing the government’s effort to diversify the national energy mix.

Commenting on the development, Ina Ruthenberg, the World Bank country manager for Zambia, said the development of solar electricity generation was aimed at overcoming the current power crisis.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the IDC, Andrew Chipwende, stated that 48 companies had applied for the solar project, however only seven made it to the final bidding list.

According to The Times of Zambia, Chipwende said the criteria that would be used to select the winning bidder would be based on the one with the lowest tariff.