Enel Green Power (EGP), a subsidiary of Italian power giant Enel, has started operations of the 34MW Ngonye solar PV plant in Zambia.
The completion comes days after French developer Neoen and US thin-film specialist First Solar announced the completion of the first of the World Bank-backed Scaling Solar projects, another large project of 54MW in capacity in Zambia.
The US$40 million Ngonye project, located in Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone in the country’s south, is Enel’s first PV project in Zambia and another under the Scaling Solar programme, which is driving large-scale PV adoption in African states such as Senegal and Madagascar, among others. Enel’s project will sell its energy to the country’s state-owned utility ZESCO through a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Zambia’s Scaling Solar programme has been carried out by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which awarded the project to EGP in June 2016. The plant is owned by a special purpose vehicle 80% held by EGP and 20% by IDC.
In June 2018, Enel signed a financing agreement with IDC of around US$34 million for the construction of the PV plant, involving senior loans of up to US$10 million from the International Financing Corporation (IFC), up to US$12 million from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program and up to US$11.75 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Zambia is aiming to set up 600MW of solar in the next 2-3 years to diversify its energy mix.