Neoen secures 25-year PPA for 54 MW solar project in Zambia

French developer and independent power producer Neoen has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement for a 54 MW PV project with ZESCO, Zambia’s national power utility. The plant will sell its power output to Zesco at a price of $0.0602 per KWh. The tariff is non-indexed and represents the equivalent of $0.47 per KWh over contract life.

In a statement to pv magazine, the company has confirmed that the signing of the PPA took place in early March. The securing of the contract marks a big step in the development of the project, which if completed will be Zambia’s largest solar plant, and the first project implemented in the frame of the Scaling Solar program, developed by the World Bank Group (IFC).

Neoen will develop the plant in partnership with U.S. solar manufacturer First Solar, which will provide approximately 450,000 modules for the project, and Zambian public investment fund Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which will retain a 20% stake in the installation.

The plant will be located in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone and will be developed under Zambia’s utility-scale Independent Power Producers (IPP) scheme.

The $60 million project was selected by the World Bank in an auction held in June 2014. The tender attracted 48 solar power developers, seven of which submitted final proposals. The winners of the first auction were First Solar, Neoen, and Enel Green Power, the renewable energy division of Enel. At the time, the bid of Neoen and First Solar, 6.02 cents per KWh, was a record low for Africa.

In late February, the Zambian government received the greenlight from the World Bank to receive funding and support for the development of 500 MW of new solar PV capacity.