20MW floating-ground mount PV project gets 25-year PPA in Malawi

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German developer Droege Energy has secured a 25-year PPA for a 20 MW solar project it is planning in Malawi.

In a statement to pv magazine, the company’s CEO Gustavo Droege revealed that the plant, being constructed as an unsolicited IPP project under the country’s IPP Framework, will sell power to local state-owned utility Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM).

“We are now preparing to financially close the project over the next three months,” Droege stated. “Financing will be made up of 30% equity, which is already arranged, and 70% debt”, he added, without providing more financial details on the project.

The Monkey Bay Solar plant will consist of a floating PV plant deployed 250 meters from the shore of Manzinzi Bay, located in the Southern Region of the Mangochi District, and a ground-mounted installation located nearby. “We still haven’t decided the exact proportion of the floating unit and that of the ground-mounted plant,” Droege further explained.

As for the modules and inverters to be used in the project, Droege said the acquisition process will be done through an open tender, which is currently under preparation. “The project is expected to be in operation in 18 months from the signature of the PPA,” he also said.

Malawi has taken small steps in solar. In February 2017, the ESCOM announced a plan to add around 70 MW of solar generation capacity to the national grid by contracting independent power producers. Last April, Malawian independent power producer Golomoti JCM Solar Corporation Limited launched a tender for a 20 MW solar plant at Golomoti, central Malawi.

The African landlocked nation currently has a power generation capacity of around 363 MW, whereby approximately 90% of which comes from hydropower, and the remaining 10% comes from 17 MW of PV.  Malawi’s access to power is currently only 5% in rural areas, and 46% in urban areas.