Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika officially launched the construction of the 60 MW solar PV plant on Monday.
According to local government-run Malawi News Agency, MANA, the project will be installed on a 168 hectare surface and will comprise 230,000 solar panels. It is expected to become operational within five months, according to the president.
The exact location of the project was not disclosed, although the government did say the site had been identified.
Project developer, JCM Matswani Solar Corp Limited, a subsidiary of JCM Power and Matswani Capital, secured a 20-year PPA for the project with local state-owned power utility Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) in September. Meanwhile, in February, it issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to select EPC contractors.
Malawi is resorting to solar to reduce energy shortages and increase access to electricity. With a population of approximately 19 million people, the landlocked nation has a power generation capacity of roughly 363 MW, around 90% of which comes from hydropower, while the remaining 10% comes from PV plants totaling 17 MW.
Access to power in Malawi’s rural areas is currently just 5% and in urban areas, 46%. Overall, electricity access is just 12%. The government aims to increase this figure to 30% by 2030.