USTDA awards grant for 100 MW solar+storage project in Mozambique

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According to a statement issued by the USTDA, the grant has been issued to WHN Solar, S.A., which in turn has contracted U.S.-based engineering, environmental, and consulting firm, HDR International, Inc. (Omaha, NE), to conduct the feasibility study.

“The grant is in the amount of $1,192,359. The contractor for the feasibility study (HDR International) committed additional funding. As with other USTDA grants, the funds are to be paid to the contractor based on milestone deliverables for the agreed upon scope of work for the study,” a spokesperson for the USTDA told pv magazine.

The latter will look into installing an up to 100 MW solar plant on the property of Nacala International Airport, in Nampula Province, northeastern Mozambique.

If it goes ahead, the project will be developed across a number of stages totaling 20-40 MW, each, said the USTDA. The spokesperson added, “… construction of the first phase of the project should take around nine months and will commence following completion of the feasibility study, the awarding of a concession and financial close. The feasibility study itself is expected to take ten months.”

Energy storage is also expected to be added to the project. The spokesperson said that it is expected to have up to 50 MW of capacity. “The anticipated MWh of the storage facility will be addressed in the feasibility study. Likewise, the feasibility study will assess the utility of different potential energy storage technologies,” they said.

“The study supports the development of the Mozambican grid in the Nacala region, which suffers from a lack of sufficient generation capacity and stability issues. The energy storage component of the project can help stabilize the grid,” read the statement.

This March, Mozambique saw financing close on its first large-scale PV project. Scatec Solar, alongside Norfund Investments and Electricidade de Mozambique closed the deal with the International Finance Corporation and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, and began construction on the 40 MW project, which is located close to the city of Mocuba.

Scatec estimates the total cost to be US$76 million, with $14 million funded through equity, a $7 million grant and $55 million raised through project debt.

When complete, the project will deliver electricity to the national grid under a 25-year PPA with state owned utility, Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM).

Meanwhile, last October, the European Union said it would provide the government of Mozambique with €4 million in funds to support the country’s initiative Projeto de Promoção de Leilões para Energias Renováveis (PROLER), which aims to create a regulatory framework and an auction mechanism for the development of large-scale solar and renewable energy projects.

A month prior to this, the government launched a $500 million electrification program based on hydro, solar, microgrids. At the time, it said that a total of 332 villages will be electrified using hydropower mini-grids with a combined capacity of about 1.01 GW.

Solar will be implemented across 343 projects, including 10 mini-grids ranging in size from 1 MW to 3 MW, while another 111 sites will include micro-grids with a capacity between 1 kW and 100 kW.

The article was amended on 31.08.2018 to include extra details and comment from the USTDA.