Construction of the 20MW Golomoti Solar power project in Malawi has begun. This is after Malawi’s minister for Energy Newton Kambala was joined by British High Commissioner to Malawi, David Beer and officials from InfraCo Africa and JCM Power (JCM) in launching the project at a ground breaking ceremony in Dedza District.
Through Innovate UK, the project has received nearly US $3m grant from the UK government, to provide state of the art batteries. This will enable the plant to provide reliable power and improve network stability, reducing reliance on hydro and diesel generation, whilst ensuring that grid stability is maintained. In addition, the UK through InfraCo Africa, one of UK’s Infrastructure Financing Agencies, is a 25% shareholder to the project through equity financing.
Golomoti Solar power project
20MWac solar photovoltaic (PV) coupled with a 5MW/10MWh lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), Golomoti Solar Project has benefited from knowledge-sharing with its sister project, Salima Solar, with both projects (among the first commercial-scale solar photovoltaic plants in the country) key to transforming regulatory frameworks around Malawi’s renewable energy sector. Salima Solar is expected to begin delivering power to Malawi’s national grid in early 2021, with Golomoti becoming operational in the latter half of 2021.
The project is being undertaken by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and its project partner, JCM Power (JCM).
Malawi’s energy sector
Malawi has an electrification rate of just 18%, with only 11% connected to the grid, and frequent power outages affecting economic productivity. Malawi’s energy sector is currently reliant upon hydro power; however, rainfall fluctuations have severely impacted electricity generation in recent years.
The Government of Malawi has recognised energy as a key driver of economic growth in its Growth and Development Strategy (2017-2022) and is working to establish regulatory frameworks needed to attract private sector investment to Malawi’s energy sector.