JCM Power, a Canadian company behind the Salima-based 60 megawatt (MW) solar electricity production, says Malawians should expect affordable electricity tariffs as it supplies power through the national grid.
President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to switch on the power plant today generated from the $75 million (about K61 billion) solar field to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) national grid.
In an interview in Salima yesterday, JCM Power chief executive officer Christian Wray said solar power is not only affordable, but is also sustainable.
He said: “The project is a 20-year contract with Escom and it supplies power at $0.10 per kilowatt per hour. We have been working with Escom to find the right mix of power in Malawi. This is the largest solar power project in sub-Saharan Africa region.
“In terms of our investment, we believe the tariff is relatively cost- reflective in Malawi. The overall cost of electricity is impacted by diesel power generation the country is using. So, our project, therefore, relatively brings down the cost of power that people pay in Malawi so it is a positive project for the people.”
JCM Power operations and maintenance supervisor Paul Beyard said the 60MW will boost the country’s electricity by 20 percent of the current production hence reducing power deficit in the country.
He said: “What it means is that with 60 megawatts we are powering the whole Northern Region which needs about 45MW and two additional districts in the Central Region.”
The 60MW Salima Solar project was developed by JCM Power, FMO and InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group.
Development of the Salima solar photovoltaic project started and in 2018 JCM Power signed a power purchase agreement with the (Escom).
After the official commissioning, the solar photovoltaic which has 228 000 solar panels, will deliver an average of 150 million kilowatt hours annually, which will improve the reliability of electricity supply to homes and businesses in Malawi.
The project generated over 915 jobs at its peak which included 832 local jobs, of which 647 were employed from the local communities. Out of the 915 jobs, 812 were taken by men and 103 went to women.
JCM is an independent power producer dedicated to accelerating social, economic and environmental sustainability in growth markets through the development, construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure.