JCM kicks off EPC tender for 20 MW solar project in Malawi

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Independent power producer Golomoti JCM Solar Corporation Limited has called for expressions of interest to select contractors for engineering, procurement and construction and for operations and maintenance services for a 20 MW solar plant at Golomoti, central Malawi.

The project, according to Canadian private equity firm JCM Power, will feature Tier 1 PV panels and string inverters and will include construction of a 400-meter 33 kV or 132 kV transmission line.

Through the pre-qualification phase, Malawian company JCM intends to shortlist up to five bidders, with the first deadline for submission of expressions of interest on May 6. The shortlisted contractors will be announced a week later.

The plant is set to sell power to utility the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) under a long-term PPA. The facility will be owned and operated by ProjectCo, a special purpose vehicle formed by JCM Power and UK-based infrastructure project development and funding services company InfraCo Africa, which focuses on sub-Saharan Africa.

Electricity access goal

InfraCo is expected to provide the development capital to bring the project to financial close and JCM will supply project development services. No financial details relating to the project were revealed by JCM Power.

The two companies are already partnering on construction of Malawi’s largest PV plant – the 60 MW Salima project – for which JCM issued a similar EPC tender in February 2018. That project, which will also sell power to ESCOM under a 20-year PPA, was selected in a public tender held by Malawi’s government between December 2016 and May 2017.

In February 2017, the Malawian power provider announced a plan to add around 70 MW of solar generation capacity to the national grid by contracting independent power producers.

In September, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research launched a tender to seek consultants for the development of a technology roadmap for solar development in Malawi.

Only 5% of Malawi’s rural population has access to power, a figure that rises to 46% in urban areas. That means only 12% of the nation’s population has access to electricity and the government wants to raise that figure to 30% by 2030.