SPANISH-JAPANESE renewable energy business group Univergy Solar is to invest more than $200 million in two solar power projects in Zambia.
The development will add 200MW to the country’s national grid in 2020, the government informed media. This renewable capacity will help alleviate load shedding in the country.
Univergy Solar will develop and implement a 135MW project in northern Zambia and another 65MW project in Zambia’s Copperbelt, the Zambian embassy in Tokyo said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the Japanese firm will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zambian government to start work on the projects in the first quarter of 2020.
The two projects are expected to be completed between six and eight months.
‘The solar power project will be implemented in collaboration with a Zambian company and is expected to create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for local firms engaged to maintain the solar farms and generation plants,’ the statement said.
Chishimba Kambwili, the leader of Zambia’s opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, has asked Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa to resign over his failure to manage load shedding.
Kambwili has accused Nkhuwa of lying about power importation from South Africa’s power utility Eskom and EDM of Mozambique, stating that he cannot continue as energy minister because he has failed to manage the energy sector.
Widespread load shedding persists in the country for up to 10 hours at a time. The load shedding caused by the incompetence of the Minister is unacceptable, said Kambwili.
The country’s energy mix comprises mainly of hydropower and has an electricity deficit of about 750MW due to low water levels at generation plants after a severe drought hit power production.
Zambia cut its economic growth forecast to around 2 percent for 2019, from an estimated 4 percent, due to the impact of the drought on its power supply and agricultural production. About 70 percent of the country’s electricity demand is driven by its mining sector.