KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has shortlisted 12 international companies that submitted bids to develop a total of 300 megawatts of the phase two solar power projects at an estimated cost of US$300 million.
In an interview on Tuesday, IDC group chief executive officer Mateyo Kaluba said the attraction of reputable global energy companies into the country’s solar projects is a demonstration of the confidence that international investors have in the Zambian economy.
“We have secured land in Mumbwa, Mufulira, Chisamba and Msoro area in Chipata, where a total of 300MW of solar farms will be installed.
“Twelve firms have been shortlisted but we will eventually remain with four developers to proceed with the projects,” he said.
Mr Kaluba said the request for proposals will be conducted in October this year and the companies will bid mainly on price tariffs.
“We are confident [that] the second phase of the scaling-up solar power project will be quicker because much of the reforms that delayed the process under phase one have been addressed.
“There is hope that a higher tariff than the US$7 cents obtained for phase one will be secured on this round. Our projection is that by June 2018, developers will be selected to start working on the solar plants that normally takes six to eight months to be completed,” he said.
Enel Green Power, together with Neoen Solar First, won the first round of the solar power tenders to be installed in the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zones.
The two firms are expected to reach financial closure with development finance institutions next month with project works expected to start in October 2017.
“However, the developers have already engaged contractors to undertake geo-technical studies on the sites where the plant equipment will be installed,” Mr Kaluba said.