20 MW/10 MWh solar-plus-storage project moves forward in Malawi


Chinese inverter manufacturer Sungrow will provide its MV solar-plus-storage solution, which included inverters, MV stations, all-in-one power conversion systems, battery containers, and energy management systems, for a large-scale solar-plus-storage project in Malawi.

The company said the 20 MW Golomoti solar plant will be linked to storage capacity of 10 MWh and will begin commercial operation by the end of the year. The plant is under construction by Infraco Africa, a unit of U.K.-based Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and Canadian private equity firm JCM Power.

“The inclusion of lithium-ion batteries behind the meter at this scale will be a first in sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrating JCM's position as a leader in deploying leading technologies and innovation for solar-storage projects,” Sungrow said in a statement.

The project is being developed about 100 km southeast of the capital, Lilongwe, and will be connected to the adjacent Golomoti substation, which will operate a 132 kV transmission line to supply the national grid. The plant will sell power to local utility ESCOM under a 20-year PPA.

Once completed, the installation should almost double the country's PV capacity, which stood at around 24 MW at the end of 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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With a population of approximately 19 million people, the landlocked nation has a power generation capacity of around 363 MW, around 90% of which comes from hydropower. Access to power in Malawi’s rural areas is currently only 4%, with 42% in urban areas. Overall, electricity access is only 11% and the government aims to increase that figure to 30% by 2030.

*The article was updated on May 21 to reflect that the project has a storage capacity of 10 MWh and not 5 MWh, as we previously reported.


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