The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently awarded the Zambia Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with USD 2 million for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Scaling Solar Photovoltaic (PC) Program that on its first round aims at raising the country’s capacity installed by 100 MW within the next months.
The fund, provided by the IFC through the USAID’s Power Africa program, will be used to fund two 50 MW PV projects that are planned to be located in the Lusaka-South Multi-Facility Economic Zone and aim at mitigating the current Zambia’s power shortage estimated in 560 MW.
The projects will be developed by 2 out of 11 companies that were shortlisted in November, 2015, which have been required to submit their final proposals up to April 8th, 2016, and will be elected on the basis of the lowest electricity price.
According to USAID Zambia Director, Mr. Mike Yates, the bidding process has been successful due to its transparency and competitiveness that have attracted qualified solar power developers, which will bring fair electricity rates for communities and support the government’s efforts to scale out solar power generation in the country.
On the Other hand, IDC CEO Andrew Chipwende, explained that the program has been structured to support the Zambian government’s participation in the solar power generation industry since the IDC will retain a minimum of 20% stake in each PV project.
The IDC together with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), IFC, and USAID are currently working to triple Zambia’s power capacity installed to about 6,000 MW through the implementation of PV projects and diversify its power generation from hydro sources to new ones using renewable energy.
According to ZDA, Zambia would soon receive USD 500 million of foreign direct investment (FDI) to immediately add 400 MW of capacity in a location that has not been disclosed yet.
According to USAID, Zambia would bring an additional of 2,000 MW by the end of 2016 with its support and a total investment of USD 1.2 million, which is part of a USD 5.8 million bilateral agreement focused on diversifying power generation and raise the rural access to electricity from the current 3%.