The construction works of the Mafeteng solar PV power plant in Lesotho is set to begin in five months’ time from now following the opening of a line of credit of unknown value by the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China to finance the project.
The project, which has been under development for almost three years will be installed in the locality of Ha-Ramarothole, in the district of Mafeteng located about 76 kilometres south of the country’s capital, Maseru on a 220-hectare piece of land.
The construction works
The construction works of the future solar PV project will be carried out by China Sinoma International Engineering, a public listed company affiliated to China National Materials Group Corporation Ltd. which is subject to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC). TBEA Xinjiang New Energy, a Chinese manufacturer of power transformers and other electrical equipment, and a developer of transmission projects will also be a part of the project which is planned to be carried out in two phases.
The first phase involves the construction of a 30 MW plant while the second phase, whose implementation will begin after a monitoring and evaluation interval on the first phase, will see the installation of a 40 megawatts power plant bringing the total capacity of the Mafeteng solar PV power plant to the planned 70 Megawatts.
The facilities will be built and transferred to Lesotho Electricity Co after a set knowledge transfer period.
Expectorations for the project
The future solar PV power plant is expected to improve access to electricity by 13% in Mafeteng district and Lesotho at large, a country where barely 30% of households have access to electricity according to the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
It is also expected to alleviate the local power shortages to some extent and enable the country to reduce its electricity costs through the reduction of its energy imports.