20 MW/5 MWh solar-plus-storage project set to begin construction in Malawi


From pv magazine France

Infraco Africa, a unit of U.K.-based Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and Canadian private equity firm JCM Power, will begin construction on the 20 MW Golomoti solar plant in Malawi in the current quarter. 

Completion of the solar facility, which is planned to be located in Dedza, about 100km southeast of the capital, Lilongwe, is scheduled for early 2022. The plant will be coupled to a storage capacity of between 5 and 10 MWh.

The power plant will connect to the adjacent Golomoti substation, which will operate a 132 kV transmission line to supply the national grid.

The project is financially backed by the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It will be used to provide grid stability and reduce national dependence on diesel generators and hydroelectric generation.

The performance data of the storage system is expected to provide crucial information for the installation of other similar systems in the region. “We are delighted to work with our partners at JCM to enrich Malawi's national electricity grid with an additional 20 MWp of clean energy,” said Infraco Africa CEO, Gilles Vaes. “The achievement of this key milestone is due to strong support from the Malawi government, regulators and the national utility Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM).”

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“By strengthening the country’s energy capacity and launching innovative electricity storage systems, Golomoti Solar will provide Malawian households and businesses with the more reliable power supply needed for economic growth,” said Justin Woodward, JCP Power co-founder.

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.

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