Zambia to launch 100 MW solar tender

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Zambia’s government said it will launch a tender for PV projects up to 20 MW in early 2018, which will be developed under the incentive scheme for solar energy.

The 100 MW tender will be the first round of the program GET FIT Zambia, which was launched on December 7. It is now the official implementation program for the Zambian REFiT Strategy, an initiative developed with the support of German development bank KFW, aimed at accelerating private investments in small and medium sized renewable energy projects in the country.

Through the REFiT Strategy, the Zambian government hopes to allocate around 200 of PV and renewable energy capacity to small- and medium-scale projects with a maximum size of 20 MW, to be procured over a period of three years. Eligible technologies include hydro, solar PV, geothermal, biomass, waste energy and wind power.

Under the 100 MW solar tender, the government said that selected projects will have to sell power to local state-owned power company, Zesco under a long-term PPA, and will have to be located close to substations, whose reliability has already been tested by Zesco in partnership with the KFW.

All substations used for round one and two of the Scaling Solar program, however, will be ineligible, the government said. Prior to the launch of the request for qualification phase of the tender, GET FiT Zambia and partners in the Ministry of Energy will host a private sector workshop in Lusaka.

The REFiT Strategy was formally launched by the Ministry of Energy in October, after being approved by Zambia’s cabinet in July.

In April, Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC) issued a Request for Prequalification for the construction of utility-scale PV plants across the country. Through this tender, the state-owned finance institution, which promotes economic growth and industrial development, invited private sector developers to compete for the right to develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain utility-scale solar PV IPP projects.

Zambia received the greenlight from the World Bank to obtain funding and support for the development of 500 MW of new solar PV capacity in February. Previously, the IDC was mandated by the Zambian government to install at least 600 MW of solar power, in order to redress the current power deficit in Zambia and resultant national crisis.  Two 50 MW solar projects are already being implemented by the company under the Scaling Solar initiative.