NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
COPPERBELT Energy Corporation (CEC) has invested over US$50 million to develop solar plants in Ndola and
Kitwe to contribute to energy supply.
The solar plants, with a combined capacity of 51 megawatts, are expected to be commissioned this year in Kitwe and next year in Ndola.
CEC managing director Owen Silavwe said the corporation is committed to contribute to the energy mix arising from the power supply challenges that the country has been experiencing, by investing US$51.3 million.
“We have started with a one megawatt solar project in Kitwe to be commissioned before the year ends to cost US$1.3 million.
“The project will involve a solar plant plus power infrastructure required to connect to CEC…The 1MW will be located in Kitwe close to CBU while the 50MW will be spread between Ndola 40 MW and Kitwe 10 MW. Land for this project has been identified,” Mr Silavwe said in an interview.
He said the main purpose of the first project is to use the project to develop internal capacity of CEC engineers in undertaking and managing solar power.
As part of CEC’s corporate social responsibility, the project will also be availed to the Copperbelt University (CBU) to train students and that GIZ has identified a German institute to be twinned with the School of Engineering at CBU in partnership with the power utility.
“The university (CBU) has attached lecturers to the project. We want to make the facility available for the university to train students so that we can start to produce engineers that have capacity to work with solar technology,” he said.
Mr Silavwe said CBU and the German institute will work together to develop a curriculum for students who will be trained in solar and develop exchange programmes.
“This is very important given that the country is beginning to realise a number of solar projects. Developing our own local experts is a key component of our project and we are happy to make that available to CBU,” he said.