IFC partners on two 50 MW solar projects in Zambia

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group – has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Zambia to construct two 50 MW solar PV plants in Zambia.

The MoU signals the two corporations’ intent to develop the African country’s first utility-scale solar parks under a program called Scaling Solar. IDC has been charged by Zambian president Edgar Chagwa Lungu to develop 600 MW of solar PV capacity in an attempt to help address the country’s ongoing power crisis.

Zambia is currently suffering from a national power generation deficit of around 560 MW, a situation that has been exacerbated by low rainfall in the past year that has reduced the country’s hydropower output.

President Lungu said: "The Zambian government is resolved to address the current hydropower shortages caused by low rainfall through active promotion and increased use of renewable energy technologies."

These first two projects are to be located on separate sites and developed by different private sector sponsors, but IFC’s Scaling Solar initiative is expected to seek to engage Zambian partners during the development process. The program is also seeking Zambian companies to act as partners in the ownership structure.

"IFC is developing this partnership with IDC Zambia to deliver affordable renewable energy that can mitigate the country’s ongoing energy crisis," said IFC director for eastern and southern Africa, Oumar Seydi. "The Scaling Solar program enables us to apply the full range of World Bank Group services to address Zambia’s challenges quickly and sustainably."

A formal advisory mandate will be negotiated over the next few weeks between the two corporations. Once finalized, project development will commence.