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Neoen S.A.S and First Solar announced that they have successfully bid for a 47.5 MW AC utility-scale solar power project in Zambia. The consortium was awarded the project by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) at a groundbreaking tariff of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), the lowest seen in sub-Saharan Africa, to date.
The project - the first to be developed under the World Bank’s Scaling Solar programme - is part of Zambia’s first utility-scale Independent Power Producers (IPP) scheme for solar energy. Scheduled to be completed by mid-2017, the facility will be located in the Lusaka South multi-facility economic zone and the IDC will retain a 20 per cent stake in the project. Energy generated by the facil- ity will be supplied to ZESCO, the state-owned utility company, under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The power plant will cover an area of almost 129 acres, equal to approximately 73 soccer pitches. The project will displace the need for 125 million litres of water that would have been consumed by conventional generation, because solar PV does not require any water to generate energy.
The plant will be powered by approximately 450,000 high performance First Solar modules, which offer up to six per cent more energy in Zambia that conventional crystalline silicon PV panels.