Ethiopia announces procurement for 500 MW of solar


Ethiopia has fired the starting gun on a pre-qualification process to identify developers for 500 MW of solar capacity.

Four projects will be developed in the second round of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Scaling Solar program for the east African nation.

Interested developers have until 4pm local time on May 29 to pay an ETB10,000 ($349) fee and enter the request for pre-qualification (RFQ) process being run by Ethiopia’s Public-Private Partnerships Directorate-General (PPP-DG).

Bidders who successfully pre-qualify can then take part in the request for proposals (RFP) round of the procurement to prepare bids for an auction to secure PV projects at Weranso, Welencheti, Humera and Mekelle.

First round is at RFP stage

The PPP-DG has already identified the 12 bidders who will compete to develop 250 MW of new solar capacity under the first round of the Scaling Solar program. Two 125 MW schemes will take shape under the program being supported by the IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank.

The pre-qualified bidders in that initial round of the program have until the end of June to submit their proposals under the RFP process.

In the latest round, the Ethiopian government has said applications will be welcomed from individual developers or consortia but encouraged bidders to join forces with local partners.

Applicants will be judged on their “experience, expertise and financial resources to rapidly deliver the solar PV PPP [public-private partnership] projects”, said the directorate-general, indicating the schemes would be developed on such a basis.

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The RFQ fee can be paid in any currency equivalent to ETB10,000, added the directorate-general, with deposits to be paid to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. More details of the process can be found here.

Hydro dependency

Ethiopia’s engagement with the Scaling Solar program aims to alleviate the country’s dependence on hydro power.

By the end of 2017, some 3,810 MW of the nation’s installed power generation capacity came from hydro, with 324 MW supplied by wind power, 143 MW from diesel and 7 MW from geothermal sources.

Recurring droughts have forced the government to rethink its energy policy with the aim of diversifying its energy mix.

The country has a booming population and an economy that has experienced steady GDP growth in the last decade although political turmoil is a hurdle to development and hopes are invested in a peace deal signed in March between opposing political parties with the nation next due to go to the polls in 2020.

This article was amended on 06/05/19 to reflect the fact the individual capacities of the four projects making up the second round of the Scaling Solar program in Ethiopia have not been confirmed.

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