India-headquartered solar EPC company Sterling and Wilson is to build a 54.3 MW solar PV plant in Zambia under the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Scaling Solar program.
The project will be the first utility-scale solar farm in Zambia, and the first under the Scaling Solar program to be built exclusively for grid connection.
The developer being the project is French renewables firm Neoen, which will act as Independent Power Producer (IPP) of the plant once it is commissioned. Sterling and Wilson has confirmed that the location of the solar farm is to be in the Kafue district of Zambia, some 20 km southeast of the nation’s capital, Lusaka.
This 54.3 MW solar plant will augment Sterling and Wilson’s African solar portfolio, which currently stands at 90 MW.
Bikesh Ogra, the president and CEO of Sterling and Wilson’s renewable energy and storage business, stressed that the company sees Zambia as a key market that could well boom following the government’s pledge to support the development of 500 MW of new solar PV over the next few years.
“Zambia regularly suffers from power outages that last for more than 10 hours a day,” Ogra said. “Reports suggest one in five people living in the country currently has no access to electricity, a basic need today. We are glad to be chosen by Neoen for this project and are privileged to be part of the energy revolution in a power deficit market.”
The IFC’s Scaling Solar program, which is part of the World Bank Group’s renewable energy objectives, has been instrumental in steering funding, investment and activity towards Africa’s electricity-starved regions, and was pivotal in driving Ethiopia’s recent 100 MW auction.
In Zambia, the IFC last year signed an agreement with the nation’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to develop 500 MW of renewables energy through up to four projects.