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20th December 2017

Zambia solar farm sets benchmark for low-cost renewable power

Groundbreaking first development for DevCo-supported Scaling Solar scheme

Financing has been agreed for a 47.5MW solar farm in Zambia which has set a new benchmark for low-cost solar power in sub-Saharan Africa.

The West Lunga plant, which will be constructed in eight months, has achieved a tariff of just 6.02 cents/kWh fixed for 25 years, ensuring prices stay low for users across Zambia.

West Lunga is the first solar plant to be developed and financed through the Scaling Solar initiative, a DevCo-supported World Bank Group programme designed to help low-income countries procure low-cost, privately financed, solar power.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said: “Universal access to energy - especially clean, affordable energy - is essential for developing nations to grow and for people to reach their full potential, and Scaling Solar has proven it can help deliver this.”

A second 28.2MW plant is expected to reach financial close in the coming months, and the Government of Zambia has already signed a new mandate with Scaling Solar to tender more projects under the program expected to deliver up to 300MW of additional utility-scale solar power  for the country.

Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, DevCo Manager, said: “The DevCo-supported Scaling Solar program is making it quicker and easier for governments to deliver fast, affordable, clean energy—even in smaller untested markets. Through this program, we are helping set a new standard for procuring large-scale solar power.”

Only about a fifth of the population in Zambia has access to electricity and the country often experiences up to 10 hours a day of load-shedding or blackouts.

DevCo’s continued role in Scaling Solar will help speed up the procurement and development process, giving people access to much-needed power more quickly.

Read more on this initiative on the Scaling Solar website.