Africa announces utility-scale floating solar tender

The Government of the Republic of the Seychelles (GRS) is gearing up to launch a tender for a 4 MW floating solar PV plant, to be installed in the Lagoon le Rocher, a shallow body of water separated from the sea by the Providence Industrial Estate, on Mahé Island, and located 4 km from the Seychelles International Airport.

The tender, set to be launched on April 26, will take the form of a sealed-bid, reverse auction with a separate pre-qualification stage. The successful bidder will be granted exclusive right to develop, finance, own and operate the project for a period of 20 years.

The Seychelles Energy Commission (SEC) is hosting the tender, with support from the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) of the African Development Bank and the Clinton Foundation. Trinity International and Multiconsult are serving as the transaction and tender advisors.

The Public Utility Corporation (PUC) will be the eventual off-taker of generated solar energy from the project, which will be awarded to the successful bidder for a period of 20 years.

“After an evaluation of the technical bids for responsiveness and full compliance with the technical requirements, the award will be made to the bidder offering the lowest financial bid,” reads the tender document. It adds that bidders must comply with financial and technical qualification criteria, which includes possessing both utility-scale and floating PV experience.

No detailed technical or feasibility studies have been conducted to date, however, conceptual and preliminary site and grid investigations have been carried out, as well as an E&S scoping study.

When complete, the floating PV plant will be connected to Mahé Island’s 33 kV transmission grid. “A new 33 kV loop is now under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019,” continues the document.

It has been termed the first utility-scale tender of its kind in Africa, and one of the first salt water floating plants in the world.