President Edgar Lungu cuts the ribbon to officially commission the solar project
President Edgar Lungu cuts the ribbon to officially commission the solar project

President Edgar Lungu has commissioned the 54 megawatts solar power plant, Zambia’s largest solar renewable energy project constructed at a cost of $60 million.

This represents Zambia’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) farm.

The Bangweulu project was developed by Neoen and First Solar, a French-American Independent Power Producer consortium, under the management of the Industrial Development Corporation and in partnership with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) Scaling Utility-Scale Solar Program (known as “Scaling Solar”).

The World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar Project awarded a contract to Neoen to construct a 100 mega watt solar power plant from the planned 500MW under the project.

Neoen holds a majority stake in the Bangweulu solar park and will be selling electricity to ZESCO for the next 25 years at a rate of $60.15 per mega watt per hour (MWh), the lowest tariff in Sub Saharan Africa.

The project represents a total investment of $60 million, $39 million of which was contributed by the International Finance Corporation and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

During the launch, President Lungu praised the IDC for taking up the challenge to create an energy mix to bring solar power into the national electricity grid in response to the electricity deficit that affected the country in 2015.

He said the high demand for electricity was an opportunity for players in the energy sector to mobilise resources and invest in the sector.

And President Lungu reminded Zesco Limited to ensure all districts in the country have access to power as it was one critical component in the development process.

President Lungu also urged the IDC to speed up the process of bringing into reality other pending solar power plants across the country.

“This project is not development as usual, but it is about partnership. It is an investment, where our governments supported a business model that makes sense,” said Ambassador Foote, taking special note of the unique nature of the Scaling Solar/Zambia program.

“It delivers value for the Zambian people and value for the private sector. This partnership made Zambia’s first utility-scale solar project feasible, providing affordable power to Zambian households, schools, hospitals, and businesses.”
The U.S. government’s development finance institution, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), also provided a $13 million senior loan for the project, alongside IFC financing.

As a result of this OPIC/IFC assistance, the solar farm will deliver 47.5 megawatts of electricity at $0.06/kWh, among the most affordable prices in Africa for a solar PV farm.

Neoen oversaw the operation of the solar installation, while First Solar supplied the solar panels.

Power Africa, the U.S. government-led partnership coordinated by USAID to double electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa, has two distinct goals: 1) to increase new generation capacity by 30,000 megawatts, and 2) to help create 60 million new electricity connections by 2030.

President Edgar Lungu greats Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo at the commissioning ceremony
President Edgar Lungu greats Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo at the commissioning ceremony

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59 COMMENTS

  1. For this project I salute President Lungu. Project like Zambia Airways I do not agree with PF and the President. I wish PF could come up with projects like solar.

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    • dude you dont have to salute ECL. this project is successful because its a world bank funded and managed project so the government as no say.

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    • Upnd is not happy, they will report President Lungu to Trump and to the international community. Upnd is working on the report they will soon have a pre conference

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    • I urge all Zambians to boycott this solar power. I will build a better one when I become president. Sincerely Delusional Dictator.

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    • #olivia pope

      Beauty without brains is like a public holiday on a Saturday or Sunday.

      A case of the real Olivia pope.

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    • Zesco is bankrupt and has been struggling to pay Independent power producers. PF Govt has been forcing Zesco to import expensive Gen-set electricity from Mozambique and sell it at a loss to Zambian consumers thus puncturing a hole in their balance sheet.

      clubofmozambiqueDOTcom/news/electricity-of-mozambique-edm-suspends-sale-of-energy-to-zambia-because-of-debt/

      Maamba Power Plant is owed hundreds of millions of $-Dollars and Zesco is failing to honour payments.

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    • The Zesco bankruptcy has been worsened by over-employment of PF cadres. E.g. Antoni.o Mwanz.a, Sunda.y Chand.a, JK’s wife are on Zesco’s payroll.

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    • Projects like this is what corrupt Lungu and his gang of corrupt theives should have been spending Eurobonds on….

      54mw *$60 * 7 hours /day * 365 days = $8.2 million per year * 25 years = $206 million

      Instead the PF theives steal and the the USA , then when the USA voices concern about democratic crackdowns ,

      anti “ we are independent “

      Hopeless bunch of corrupt violent thugs

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    • Looks great.
      So apa fi PF thugs already regrouping on how to sabotage the plant.
      They build and they destroy.

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    • That’s all he is good for. Commissioning projects that he has no hand in. Not his idea, not his management, nothing to his credit. Just commissioning. What a shame.

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    • Bwalya – this is not a GRZ profit simply look at the cost it was delivered for $60 million you think PF thieves would deliver a project that low …it would have cost us $200 million.
      I have always stated that places like Luapula and Western Province should have been powered by solar…these are projects Zesco should have been championing 10 years ago.

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    • Just take note whilst you are cheering blindly that next time your govt ever tries to ever reduce electricity tariff for you in the future…they will have to answer to France and the US.

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    • “Neoen holds a majority stake in the Bangweulu solar park and will be selling electricity to ZESCO for the next 25 years at a rate of $60.15 per mega watt per hour (MWh), the lowest tariff in Sub Saharan Africa”

      But ask yourself how much Zesco will be selling to you? Zambian need to wake from their docility there is too much waste…imagine if this was an IDC project how expensive it would have been.

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  2. Kudos Lungu even though its a pure foreign investment power project. Renewable power is the future thanks to this French & American investors .

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    • The only thing PF did was increase your tariffs to a cost reflective rate to make such projects economically feasible….I dont know whether you should be thanking for that when they are wasting billions on Hydroelectric when $60million can produce 54 Mega Watts.

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    • The IFC were smart to control the construction of this project. Otherwise the Chronic Thieves would have said that it cost $500m.

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  3. Centralized solar power vs Distributed solar power.
    The main goals of solar power are the use of a renewable resource and energy independence. Its far better for each rural household,farmer,school,hospital etc to have their own standalone mini solar systems AWAY from the grid. This allows the consumers to independently cater for their solar water pumping,energy and lighting needs.
    But the PF government want the power generated first to be sold to ZESCO and then distributed to the masses.Why use ZESCO? because that is where the PF chew from.
    In many developed countries individual households with solar systems even sell excess power(during peak sunlight hours) to power utilities through net metering. In the US feed-in tarrif is around 12.3-14 ¢/kWh ,in Canada 28-38¢/kWh,in China…

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    • ..US$0.15 per kWh ,India USD 0.125 /kWh etc.
      Distributed solar systems would mean energy independence for the consumers, no money for ZESCO and no money for the PF to plunder.

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    • Beauty with brains is like having a public holiday on Monday just after having another one the previous Friday.

      #independent

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    • Zesco is a cash cow that’s why…and it’s responsible for Generation, distribution and Supply/retail …there is need to privatize or break it down.

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  4. This power project has nothing to do with GRZ or Lungu there’s no govt investment Kwachas/Dollars here. GRZ is just a facilitator/guardian.Bwana Lungu collecting trash is your specialty.

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    • And stealing….. while the wife goes to spend $1 million viewing second hand trucks worth $50 k…..

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    • What do you mean it has nothing to with GRZ or Lungu? WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS WHEN WE SAY “GOVT HAS TO CREATE A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR PRIVATE BUSINESSES INVESTMENTS TO THRIVE? If this has nothing to do with the CURRENT/PF Govt, why didn’t we see such investments in the past then?

      Come on people, even if you are such cynics and haters of Lungu at least appreciate and give credit when something good is done…..you lose nothing by doing so!

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    • Yambayamba

      If it has anything to do with Lungu or PF , out those euro bonds , GRZ should have build at least one of these in every province…..after all they spent $ 17 billion.

      Look at how much the world bank is making , $ 8 million from the sun per year, all that should have been for the Zambian people if we had any leadership with brains.

      Is that all Lungu and PF know ? Facilitating and borrowing ?

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    • Mzambia wa Zamani – dont waste your time …cadres are too dull to know that provided Lazy Lungu is cutting the ribbon it’s a PF infrastructure project irrespective of what the article says….this is what Zambian investors should be involved in but Zesco has been playing hardball on the tariffs it pays for the investors..this why these projects are strategically located close to the border to supply neighbouring countries.

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  5. 1.1 and 4.0 I’m shocked at your bitterness. The World Bank can’t just come in Zambia and start construction of any project. It has to be approached by the government. Your desperation is taking a very dangerous turn I am afraid.

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    • Most likely the world bank approached GRZ , why could GRZ not afford $60 million , after all they spent 17 billion

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    • Spaka, the government could have easily said no. Many countries have declined aid even when they actually needed it. In any case Lungu or no Lungu the project stands to benefit Zambians including Upnds unless they choose not to use the facility.

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    • How can GRZ say no when they need money ? Zesco will sell on the electricity and make a small profit……the only losers are Zambian households who will be paying high tariffs for solar generated power

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  6. Those singing praise to Lungu should be ashamed….it is indeed a sad day to be Zambian.
    Zesco was failing to pay for imported power the other day while the corrupt theives were blowing $17 billion while a small solar project funded by foringers costs only $60 million , which will generate $200 million over 25 years

    Shame on you Lungu shame on you PF

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    • Dude, you are the one who should be ashamed. Always seeing the cup “half empty.” Characteristics of PERSMIST!

      Why do you always want everything done and funded by the Govt. The same Govt you people tell us is broke. What is wrong with Govt having good policies that attract private sector investments, both foreign and domestic? Soon enough ZESCO will have surplus power to even export so they can be profitable once in their history. So what is this negativity all about? I just don’t understand it!

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    • You should embarrassed to have the world bank funding a $ 60 million project , less than lungus jet, the same project means at least $6 million per year is externalised

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    • 7.1 No1 aim of Spaka is to ensure the government fails. What he forgets failure or success is going to affect the ordinary Zambian.

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    • Ndanji

      GRZ is failing because of boot lickers like you…..how can you be praising Lungu when the $ 60 million project would have been money for Zambia but they instead spend recklessly like a jet for Lungu or none economic roads ?

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  7. PFoools don`t take credit for what you haven’t done, if you had access to the money for this project, it would be a white elephant like Kazungu bridge….. you only know how to commission other people hard work ba pompwe imwe

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  8. Why are your mouths full of vernom. Your stock in trade is to curse and send flamming arrows unsubstantiated innuendoes. If you evidence of theft present to relevant to law enforcement agencies so that they get prosecuted. Have respect for God’s ordained authority.

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    • You don’t see nothing wrong with the world bank and others making $8 million per year from Zambian sun, from a mere $60 million investment while GRZ having spent $17 billion is even failing to pay civil servants on time ???

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    • What trees do you guys smoke, there is one of you before the courts of law for corruption and you want to pretend it doesn’t exist

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  9. $60.15 per MW/hr
    they will realize their $60m investment in less 2years, the rest of 23years will be profit. this could pay them back over 2000% profit in a period of 23years.
    I wonder if it’s Zambian owned, and who which national will benefit from this investment’s cash cow.

    Our Zesco, Our Government should have been thinking in such lines of investments instead of planning new fixtures of taxes on heavily taxed payees.

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  10. I hope they built-in technology transfer s.t. soon we’ll start making our own solar systems. Always buying from others. When are we going to build our own? What is so complicated about solar panels, batteries and ZAMEFA wires? Get our youths into such ventures not using them to hack each other at bye-elections.

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  11. I doubt very much that the assumably incoming government will develop the country on its own. Because right now they have partners who are funding. I dont think any country is developing on its own. Gentlemen lets be objective. Already even them are getting funding which they promise to pay back when they form government.

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    • Even them who ever they are if they prove as hapless as lungu and his gang , we will condemn and belittle…..

      Here you have GRZ that has spent $17 billion, now failing to complete some capital projects, failing to pay civil servants on time , failing to pay student meals yet see fit to pay $75 million for jet for lungu , at the same time here are foringners spending $60 million and making $8 million per year from the free Zambian sun…….

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  12. Bu chikopo siti lessa…….eyayi….

    But when you are a hapless dim wit and ontop of that you are a violent ati democratic thug, attcking any opposition who you see as a threat to your grip on power, then you are in trouble…even the free would will turn on you sooner or later.

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  13. I give credit to the government for putting in place the necessary policies and framework for such a project. I’ve always thought that before we turn to the more ‘complex’ nuclear energy, let’s exchuast all the other ‘safe’ energies such as solar. Zambia is blessed with bright sunshine nearly all year round.

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  14. @ Independent
    Please dont show your usual low IQ by commenting on things you hard understand or can understand in your entire life time. There three major parts in the electricity value chain, namely Generation, Transmission and Distribution. All these cost colossal sums of money to build so that power is connected to your premises. So to keep the tariff low and affordable, its just right that this power is transported through the existing infrastructure, which in this case is only owned by ZESCO. Again, we are not amused by the warped and screwed low thinking of UPND carders because their club chairman HH, is the worst culprit. PF has extremely intelligent people who choose to work quietly and let results speak for themselves.

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  15. It is the duty of any government to provide social goods and services after taxing its citizens. Therefore, I do not see any reason why someone should be cheer leading as if this was a favour.

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  16. Hahahaha by the time its 2021 upnd the de.monic party will have no message to tell the people of Zambia. In fact they don’t have…yaba dirty politics of assassination attempt are now the order of the day. Useless de.monic party.

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  17. This is the way to go for rural areas. Access to sustainable power supply is critical to unlock the potential of rural areas. Challenge now is how do we replicate this model for other areas. No one can suck the sun empty, so we can build more and have a diversified and resilient power supply system. It can be done! All we need is the will to do it!

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  18. I can see an inferiority complex bunch from most comments here.
    smooching foreign boots while trashing own govt.
    slave trade and colonialism did a lot of brain damage to the natives,
    it;s in the dna.

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    • It worries me to see that people will only prop their when their leader is president. You’ll never hear of British politicians scandalizing their country in foreign lands. Don’t forget that if you assume power that culture which created will come to haunt you and make it impossible to work.

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