THE World Bank Group says the development of solar projects in Zambia will go a long way in the delivery of affordable electricity especially in rural areas.
In May this year, President Lungu commissioned construction works for the US$1.2 billion solar power plants in Lusaka under the auspices of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said the banks remains committed to assisting Zambia and other countries in scaling up energy projects to accelerate the transformation of the continent.
The two 100 megawatts plants, located in the Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone that are being developed by First Solar, the biggest United States panel producer, France’s Neoen and Enel, are expected to be completed before the end of the year.
The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and World Bank member, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, are offering financing, insurance and advisory services through the scaling solar programme.
Dr Kim, who described the project as a perfect example of how public-private partnerships (PPP) can help in advancing the provision of energy, said “Zambia has enough sunshine” thus the need to scale up solar power production in the country.”
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the joint International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings, Dr Kim said the bank is looking at every single possibility where PPP investments can energy for the poor, people provide roads, while at the same time providing a return that will attract investors.
“It was thought that it is difficult to put up auctions together in Africa for solar energy but we now have something called scaling solar,” he said.
Dr Kim said with the price of only US$.06 [cents] a kilowatt hour, which is very low especially in Africa, it is possible to provide energy to the vulnerable communities.
“This is a landmark deal, the lowest price ever received in Africa… If Zambia can get that kind of price and these were all private sector companies that bid. This is a perfect example of how you can crowd in private sector and both provide more energy at a lower cost to people in Zambia.
“I think the promise of solar, not only in Zambia, but throughout Africa is really exciting,” he said.