Tanzania buys solar power from small independent power producers


Tanzania's state-owned power utility, Tanesco, has agreed to buy power from 19.6 MW of clean energy assets under development by six independent power producers in the country.

The six projects are being built under a new regulatory framework recently introduced by the regulator, Ewura, and intended at enabling IPPs to enter the country's energy market. “These new rules require Tanesco to enter into agreements with small scale power producers in areas where the national grid has not yet arrived,” said Costa Rubagumya, senior manager, planning, at Tanesco. He also added that small-sized IPP projects may also reach areas that are grid-connected but which experience strong grid losses.

Three of the PPA-linked projects are for solar power plants. These include a 10 MW solar park in Kahama and a 5 MW facility in Kigoma, both located in northwestern Tanzania, and a 360 kW array at an unspecified location. The remaining three projects are for small hydropower plants ranging in size from 900 kW to 1.7 MW.

These plants will have to start selling electricity to Tanesco within 18 months.

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Tanesco had launched a tender for the construction of several large scale PV projects with a combined capacity of 150 MW in September 2018. The results of this procurement exercise, however, have not been announced to date.

Tanzania has, currently, a power generation capacity of around 1.5 GW, most of which comes from 696.3 MW of thermal gas and diesel power plants and from 561.8 MW of hydropower. According to the latest statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency, the country had only 26 MW of installed solar power at the end of last year.

Currently, Tanzania has an access rate to electricity of around 32.7%, with approximately 7.7 million people living without power.

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