The Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant, one of the first solar projects in Malawi, in 2019 completed its financing round after raising $67 million (about K50 billion).
The first works have since started at Nkhotakota, and construction of the first phase is expected to be completed by March this year, the company said in a statement.
“Once completed, the project will add 46 MW of clean energy to the local power supply,” the statement read in part.
Phanes, the company managing the project, said about $67 million was needed to complete the work.
The plant is being developed by Phanes in collaboration with responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), the US government’s development finance agency.
In February 2019, a power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed between Malawi’s national electricity utility, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and the three companies.
A few years earlier, in 2017, Phanes Group and its partners won the contract, following an international call for tenders launched by Malawi, which at the time involved 21 international companies.
Once commissioned, the Nkhotakota solar power plant will improve Malawi’s electricity access rate, which currently stands at 15 percent, with an installed capacity of 362 MW.
The government wants to increase this rate to 30 percent by 2030.
In addition, the plant will enable Malawi to reduce its dependence on hydropower, on which 95 percent of the country’s energy resources are based.
This is a necessity for the country, which is becoming increasingly vulnerable to droughts caused by climate change.
According to Joseph Nganga, managing director of responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding, access to reliable and affordable electricity is essential for the country, which is becoming more and more vulnerable to droughts caused by climate change. “Our aim in supporting this project is to contribute simultaneously to climate change mitigation and to accelerate Malawi’s development,” said in the release.