Zambia Announces Cheapest Photovoltaic Power Tariff In Sub-Saharan Africa

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Two solar projects will be soon developed to deliver the cheapest solar power tariff in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the Zambia Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has recently announced.

Both projects will count with a capacity of 50 MW each and will supply power at tariffs of USD6.02c and USD7.84c per Kilowatt-hour (Kwh).

These tariffs are far below the SSA solar power tariff average of USD13.00c according to the World Bank.

The Zambian government expects NEOEN S.A.S. of France, First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) of the US and Enel Green Power (BIT:ENEL) of Italy to develop the PV projects at such tarıffs.

According to the IDC, these two companies were shortlisted together with other nine in November 2015 but they offered the lowest tariffs that would remain fixed for a period of 25 years.

The program has been structured to support the Zambian government’s participation in the solar power generation and the IDC will retain a minimum stake of 20% in each project, IDC’s CEO Andrew Chipwende explained.

The IDC, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and other development partners are currently working to raise Zambia’s power capacity by using renewable sources.

The aim is to reduce reliability on hydro power that accounts for 92% of the current capacity installed of 1,967 MW in Zambia.

Recent droughts have hit power supply across the country by reducing the availability of hydro resources as lakes and rivers.

Lake Kariba Hydro Plant is currently working at 12% of its capacity installed of 600 MW.

The 100 MW of the PV projects are the first of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Scaling Solar Photovoltaic (PC) Program that seeks to triple the current capacity installed to about 6,000 MW in the long-term.

Zambia as the rest of countries in Africa will work towards unlocking their energy potential by 2025 using renewable sources as solar, wind and geothermal, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina explained during the bank’s latest annual general meeting held in Lusaka in May 2016.