Lesotho’s first utility-scale solar project moves forward

Lesotho’s independent power producer OnePower Lesotho (PTY) LTD has issued an expression of interest for environmental and social impact assessment and management services relating to a 20 MW solar power project that is planned to be located in the Mafeteng District.

The services include Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) following AfDB and IFC Performance and Management (ESMP) services in support of development of the project. Bids must be submitted by Nov. 30, 2017.

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which is managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to provide NEO I SPV Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of OnePower Lesotho Pty Ltd., with a $695,500 grant to finance the preparation of a bankable business case for the development of the project in mid-August.

SEFA said that the grid-connected PV plant will be installed in the Mafeteng Province and will enable the strategic phase-out of costly power imports from Mozambique and the reduction of imported coal-generated power from South Africa.

The plant, which is part of country’s National Electrification Master Plan (NEMP), is expected to contribute approximately 13% to Lesotho’s maximum system demand of around 150 MW and to decrease power retail prices by replacing 20 MW of imported power from Mozambique.