Zambia signs landmark 1GW solar PPA with SkyPower


SkyPower Global, the UAE and Canada-headquartered developer and operator of solar power projects, and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) have signed a 1,000 megawatt (MW) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia said the agreement is a pivotal component of Zambia’s integrated renewable energy plan, designed to significantly enhance the nation’s renewable energy capacity to support sustainable growth.

“Construction will commence next year, after signing all agreements, completing environmental studies and arranging finances for the various phases,” Kerry Adler, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of SkyPower Global Group of Companies, said in Dubai after signing a formalising agreement with Jito Kayumba, Special Assistant to the President of Zambia.

He added that contractors for the project have not been finalised.

Kayumba said the 1,000 MW project represents a 30 percent increase of the country’s current power generation capacity.

“It is going to generate thousands of jobs, create opportunities for new businesses and provide power to several million homes,” he said.

Zambia’s energy mix is dominated by hydropower, which accounts for 90 percent of the installed 3,500 MW power generation capacity. As a result, a prolonged drought has deeply impacted water and energy availability for households and industries.

Adler said SkyPower is working with banking syndicates to commence construction next year. He said 70 to 75 percent of the project’s funding will come from bank financing with the balance from mezzanine financing and third party investors.

As for sourcing solar panels, he said SkyPower has relationships with the biggest suppliers of solar panels, mainly from China and Germany.

Almost 90 percent of solar panels come from China, which has perfected the manufacturing process, reducing production costs and ultimately bringing down energy prices for consumers,” he said.

Green Giant Zambia initiative

The PPA will support Green Giant Zambia initiative, which aims to supply electricity to around 4 million homes, create jobs and increase renewable energy capacity.

Kayumba explained that Green Giant Zambia is a crucial component of the county’s integrated renewable energy plan, in the context of prolonged drought in the country owing to climate change.

“This initiative aims to substantially increase our renewable capacity to address both current and future energy needs as Zambia aims to increase industrial productivity and fulfill our aspiration to attain over 3 million metric tonnes of annual Copper production,” he said.

Victor Benjamin Mapani, Managing Director of ZESCO added Green Giant Zambia initiative aims to leverage cutting-edge solar technology and collective expertise of partners to transform Zambia’s energy landscape, making it a model for renewable energy development worldwide.

Kayumba said the initiative will enable Zambia to become power surplus and exporter of electricity.

He continued: “The Africa region faces a power deficit of more than 10,000 MW. Zambia can earn export income when the solar power projects are commissioned and electricity exports commence. With Green Giant Zambia, we are not just producing renewable energy in line with President Hakainde Hichilema’s vision and goals. We are also cultivating jobs, and sustainable infrastructure that will benefit generations.”