Close To 1.9GWp Of Large-Scale Projects In Africa Confirmed In Just 5 Weeks!

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While the C&I and SHS segments have monopolized the African solar headlines over the past few months, June 2021 has seen an unprecedented series of large-scale projects being commissioned, awarded and/or confirmed.

Since June 1st 2021, projects totaling 1,879MW have made significant progress in their respective development stage (commissioning, construction, award, financing, tender launch and licenses granted). A list of all these projects can be found at the bottom of this article.

The rise of large-scale solar+storage

The largest project of the past few weeks is the Kenhardt project awarded to Scatec Solar in the South African Risk Mitigation tender (RMIPPP). This first-of-its-kind tender open to all technologies (excluding coal) aimed at bringing a solution to South Africa’s recurring load shedding and power outages issues by providing dispatchable power, Scatec won this tender by proposing a combination of 540MW of PV and 1,140MWh of storage.

Several other solar+storage projects have made the headlines. AFSIA Member GreenYellow and their partner Axian Group have started the construction of the expansion of the Ambotalampy solar project in Madagascar. The 20 MWp commissioned in 2018 will now welcome an additional 20MWp and 5MWh of storage to provide grid-stability features.

In Mozambique, the Cuamba solar plant, developed by Globeleq and financed by AFSIA Member InfraCo, has also started construction. This project will consist of 19MWp of PV and 2MW/7MWh of storage.

The last noteworthy project has been built in Somaliland’s main sea port Berbera. German DHYBRID has worked with local authorities to install 2 projects totaling 8MW and 2MWh of storage.

Many more solar+storage are at different stages of development across the continent, some bolstering impressively large storage capacities. Equipment manufacturers have also understood this industry evolution and a growing number are now offering complete solutions, as is the case for AFSIA Members JinkoSolar and Huawei, now also offering storage solutions on top of their respective traditional range of solar modules and inverters. With the increasing affordability of storage, the future of solar looks undeniably linked with storage, and this is great news for Africa.

IFC’s Scaling Solar making a strong come-back

In 2016 IFC made a strong move to support large-scale solar in Africa with the launch of Scaling Solar in Zambia and the record-breaking tender results and speed. The expectation was then to see this model, greatly enhancing project development and bankability, be replicated in many African countries. The next target country for Scaling Solar was then Ethiopia with several 100s of MW being planned. But this Scaling Solar initiative in Ethiopia ultimately did not go through and this left many observers wondering about the future of IFC’s initiative.

But 2021 is undeniably the year of Scaling Solar’s comeback on the front scene. The IFC team has indeed signed agreements with 3 African nations to quickly fast forward their national power generation capacity increase. Niger has just started its Scaling Solar journey and plans to add 50MW of PV to the national grid. Togo and Cote d’Ivoire are one step further already, with pre-qualification already launched. Cote d’Ivoire plans to add a total capacity of 60MW built across 2 sites (Laboa and Touba). And for Togo, Scaling Solar seems to be 1 additional way of achieving the country’s ambitious (yet delivered on!) solar appetite. After the 50MW Blitta project being commissioned in June, Togo now plans to add 60MWac in Salimde and 80MWac in Awandjelo.

The beginning of a bright solar era in Botswana

There has been a little bit of a love-hate relationship between Botswana and solar over the past decade. BPC, the national utility, has flirted with international IPPs for many years by floating a 100MW Expression of Interest on an annual basis, without ever following up on it (close to 200 IPPs had expressed interest). This may have led to some business developer’s fatigue and demotivation about Botswana.

But the country has surprised the industry in late 2020 by launching the Rooftop Solar Program which is effectively a net-metering + FiT scheme. Very few African countries offer net-metering, let alone FiTs. In its first year, the program will allow for 10MW to be installed under the scheme (8MW for C&I and 2MW for residential). And expectations are that this capacity will be increased in the years to come. A few weeks after the program launch, grid prices were increased by 22%, which has spurred many electricity consumers to seriously start considering going solar. These 2 elements will definitely play a key role in the creation of a solid solar ecosystem in Botswana for the years to come.

On top of the net-metering scheme, the regulator has also just awarded a license to local company Shumba Energy to build 100MW and sell electricity to the grid. With this move, the regulator has found a solution against BPC’s historical reticence to move forward with solar. This first IPP authorization is de facto breaking BPC’s monopoly and opens the way to more solar IPPs to propose their services to one of the most bankable and stable countries in Africa. PPA record-low tariffs to be expected!

Is Zimbabwe becoming the new African solar champion?

ZERA, the Zimbabwean regulator, has just granted 7 licences for PV projects for a total of 66.1MW. This is a very encouraging move, which comes on top of many other recent developments.

A few months ago, the country authorized net-metering and feed-in in an effort to curb the national energy deficit and encourage all stakeholders to contribute to adding power generation capacity to the national grid. While some details are still to be clarified and some questions remain about the national utility’s capability to pay for the electricity feed-in, the move is welcome by all solar professionals.

But many private PPAs also being developed in the country, especially to support the country’s key mining industry. The latest example comes from Zimplats, which is currently conducting feasibility studies to add 200MW of PV to support its Mimosa mine. Based on AFSIA market intelligence, more than 1GW of C&I projects is currently at various stages development in Zimbabwe. Solar project development always comes with major hurdles and it is unlikely that all these projects will come to fruition unfortunately. But it indicates a very big appetite for solar in the country. And time will tell if Zimbabwe becomes the new Africa solar Eldorado.

Recent large-scale projects in Africa

countryMWpMWhproject namedeveloperstatuslink
South Africa5401,140RMIPPP – Kenhardt 1Scatec2 – financinglink
RMIPPP – Kenhardt 2Scatec2 – financing
RMIPPP – Kenhardt 3Scatec2 – financing
Zambia200Serenje PV plantULTRA Green Corporation Zambia Limited3 – constructionlink
Tanzania120Kishapu solar plant – Phase 20 – developmentlink
DRC100Kolwezi PV plantFinancing Access RDC0 – developmentlink
DRC100Likasi PV plantFinancing Access RDC0 – developmentlink
Togo100AwandjeloTogolese government1 – tenderlink
South Africa100RedstoneACWA2 – financinglink
Namibia81TeraSun Energy Solar PV Power ParkNatura Energy, Globeleq0 – developmentlink
Togo75SalimdeTogolese government1 – tenderlink
Tanzania60Kishapu solar plant – Phase 10 – developmentlink
Niger60IFC – Niger plant #10 – developmentlink
Cote d’Ivoire75Laboa & Touba PV plants – Laboa1 -tenderlink
Botswana50Shumba Energy PV plant – Phase 1Shumba Energy0 – developmentlink
Togo50Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed PV plantAMEA Power4 – operationallink
Namibia30Municipal council of Windhoek1 – tenderlink
Zimbabwe25Chidobe-Mizpah Solar Photovoltaic FacilityPowerVentures3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe20Harava Solar ParkInvest Solar Africa limited3 – constructionlink
Madagascar205Ambatolampy solar plant – Phase 2GreenYellow, Axian Group3 – constructionlink
Mozambique197Cuamba solar plantGlobeleq3 – constructionlink
Burkina Faso17Zagtouli – Phase 2Sonabel1 – tenderlink
Somaliland82Berbera 2 PV plants4 – operationallink
Burundi7.5Mubuga solar PVGigawatt Global3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe5.5Guruve Solar ParkGuruve Solar Park3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe5Sunset Technologies Solar ParkRichaw Solar Tech3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe5Wartrail Power PlantPlum Solar3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe5Cross Mabale – Phase 1SolGas Energy3 – constructionlink
Zimbabwe4.5Malilangwe Trust ,  Sustainable Agriculture Technology1 – tenderlink
Sao Tome & Príncipe1.64Santo Amaro hybrid – Phase 2UNIDO0 – developmentlink
Madagascar1.2Andranotakatra Solar Plant – Phase 14 – operationallink
Sao Tome & Príncipe0.55Santo Amaro hybrid – Phase 1UNIDO0 – developmentlink
Mauritius8Tamarind Falls plantBHEL0 – developmentlink
LibyaRebiana solar plantENI0 – developmentlink

This list is just a snapshot of the 7,600+ projects already identified by AFSIA.

More than 1,000 projects already operational can be consulted freely on AFSIA’s website here.

The remaining projects are available to AFSIA members in a carefully curated database which is updated daily. AFSIA members often label this projects database as a “business development gold mine”.

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