Firm planning to build solar plant

Post was last updated: February 10, 2018

As the country continues to experience power challenges, a firm called ProjectCo has disclosed plans to build a 40 megawatts (MW) solar power station in Salima.

ProjectCo is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) incorporated to develop, finance, build, own and operate solar energy projects.

ProjectCO, whose shareholders include Canadian JCM Power, InfraCo Africa Limited of the UK and South Africa’s Matswani Capital, has since floated bids for firms to build the station.

The firm said the station will be built on an 80-hectare site within 4km of Salima’s Nanjoka substation in Malawi. The solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant is to be built under a full-wrap turnkey, lump sum fixed price, date-certain engineering, procurement and construction contract in combination with a long-term operation and maintenance contract.

“The counter party to the Power Purchase Agreement will be the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (Escom) as the sole purchaser of the solar farms available capacity and power on a ‘take or pay’ basis,” reads the invitation for bids.

According to the document, JCM Power and InfraCo Africa Limited will provide the development capital to bring the project to a financial close, while Matswani Capital, through a separate services agreement, provides development services to ProjectCo.

Malawi’s installed capacity of electricity generation is at 351 megawatts but the capacity has been declining due to low water levels in the Shire River.

In its communique at the end of its 2017 Annual General Meeting, the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) indicated that the current level of electricity generation in the country is not adequate to support meaningful private sector growth.

“It is, therefore, imperative for government to put in place long-term policies and strategies that will address the prevailing power supply challenges and even plan for the future energy demand. The government does not necessarily have to invest heavily in the sector because the private sector can ably invest in it.

“The government needs to work with relevant ministries to create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the energy sector,” Ecama said.

Speaking when he opened the 47th Session of Parliament in November, President Peter Mutharika said Capital Hill is targeting to add 2,500MW to the national grid in the next 10 years.

Mutharika said, in the medium term, government targets the installation of grid-connected solar power plants and diesel powered generators, with a total installed capacity of 70MW and 78MW, respectively, to be completed before the end of 2018.

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