US $200m two solar power projects are set to build in Zambia. Funded by the Japanese Renewable Energy Company Univergy Solar, the two plants are expected to add a total of 200MW to the country’s national grid next year.
According to a statement from Zambia’s embassy in Tokyo, Univergy Solar Company is expected to develop and implement a 135MW project in northern Zambia and another 65MW project in Zambia’s copperbelt.
Furthermore, the solar power project will be implemented in collaboration with a Zambian company and is expected to create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for local firms engaged to maintain the solar farms and generation plants.
The Japanese firm will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Zambian government to start work on the projects in the first quarter of 2020. The two projects are expected to be completed between six and eight months after the commencement date.
Zambia mainly relies on hydropower and has an electricity deficit of about 750MW due to low water levels at generation plants after a severe drought hit power production. The country cut its economic growth forecast to around 2% for 2019, from an estimated 4%, due to the impact of the drought on its power supply and agricultural production.
Solar power in Zambia
Zambia expects to triple power output to 6,000 megawatts (MW) in 2 years through expansion of solar energy by foreign investors, the head of its investment agency said.
Erratic electricity supplies have hit mining in the continent’s second biggest copper producer, where the bulk of its generation capacity of 2,200MW of power is water-powered. The power problems and copper price slide have driven the kwacha currency to record lows amid a selloff in commodity-linked currencies as top copper consumer China’s economy has slowed.