Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has unveiled plans to roll out a $12 million (approximately K10 billion) solar project in Salima this year, which, once completed in 2023, would add about 10 megawatts (mw) to the national power grid.
The investment is a component of outlined projects in Egenco’s 15- year strategic plan which was launched in 2019 with ambitious targets requiring $4.3 billion (about K3.2 trillion) to implement.
Egenco is on Thursday expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese contractor, Chint Electric Company for the project.
In a statement issued Monday, the firm says the project is the first phase of a scalable 20mw power plant that will be implemented in two phases.
The initial phase will take 24 months, with the first six months for the feasibility study and the remaining period for design, supply, installation and commissioning of the 10mw Solar PV Power Plant.
According to the statement, Egenco has already secured land for future scaling up of the plant that may go up to 50mw.
The project is being implemented with battery storage. The contract being signed is a solar Photovoltaic (PV) System only and battery storage will be procured under a different contract.
“The Salima Solar Project is being funded by Egenco’s own resources at a total cost of $12 million, approximately mwK10 billion. It is expected to be commissioned by end 2023,” the statement reads.
The Salima Solar Power Plant will become Egenco’s biggest solar plant, following the 1.3mw Likoma and Chizumulu Solar Power Plants that were commissioned in the year 2020.
According to the statement, investing in the solar plant is in line with the company’s strategy of increasing power generation and diversification of energy sources.
“Egenco intends to improve its power generation mix from being 95 percent hydro-based to 76 percent hydro-based in the first five years of its strategy and do away with overreliance on hydropower,” the statement says.
Alternative sources of power such as the Salima Solar Power Plant will supplement the existing sources of electric energy in Egenco’s power generation system in order to continue improving power generation in the country.
The firm sought to bridge the divide between installed capacity of 367.3mw and the 2018 projection demand of 529mw.