Eswatini 850 kW solar plant at KM III International Airport to be constructed

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The government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly and still commonly known in English as Swaziland through the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA) plans to construct an 850 kW solar plant at King Mswati III International Airport, initially named Sikhuphe International Airport in Lubombo.

To this far, the ESWACAA has advertised a tender for the construction of the facility under the build, own, operate, and transfer (BOT) project model. Interested independent power producers have until the 22nd of December this year to submit their expressions of interest.

Also Read: 13 IPPs pre-selected for solar and biomass projects in Eswatini

The selected company will be responsible for financing, building, owning and operating the future solar power plant. According to the tender document, at least 15% of the total value of the labor during the construction of the plant will have to come from Eswatini, as well as 10% of the materials used in the implementation of the solar power plant project. The tender document also indicates that the selected IPP will sign a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority.

Reduction of the dependence of KM III International Airport on the national grid

The electricity generated from the future solar power plant is expected to reduce the dependence of the King Mswati III International Airport on the grid of the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC), which is struggling to meet the demand for electricity in the Southern Africa country.

The state-owned utility, formerly known as Swaziland Electricity Co, has only around 60 MW of power generation capacity, which is only enough to meet approximately 10% of the kingdom’s electricity demand. It imports most of its power from Mozambique and South Africa via the Southern African Power Pool.

In order to increase its power generation capacity, the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority issued, in 2019, a tender for the development of 40 MW of solar generation capacity by 2020 and 40 MW of biomass by 2021.