(IT Web Africa) – Zambian president Edgar Lungu has commissioned the construction of two renewable power plants valued at US$1.2-billion to supply the country’s highly anticipated PC assembly plant and data centre.
The project, which will lead to the production of a combined 100 megawatts of power by the end of the year, is being funded by the World Bank and is the first project of its kind in Africa under the financial institution’s scaling up solar programme.
The programme aims to accelerate the use of alternative and renewable energy sources to reduce the impact of insufficient rainfall on the country’s hydropower energy resources.
The two power stations will be located in the Lusaka Multi-facility Economic Zone and will be implemented in partnership with Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the government’s development arm.
In early April the country’s regulator, the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), confirmed that it had signed a lease agreement with the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone to facilitate construction of the computer assembly plant and data centre.
The resources are expected to be operational next year.
“It is regrettable that the current power deficit has negatively affected productivity levels and government revenue. With 365 days of sunshine a year, Zambia has great potential to raise investment in the solar energy and reduce dependency on hydropower,” Lungu said
World Bank representative Ina Marlene Ruthenberg said the introduction of solar energy in Zambia will help reduce the cost of electricity.
The institution aims to generate up to 600 megawatts in the Southern African country as part of its scaling up solar programme.
Like many other countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Zambia is facing a critical shortage of power resulting in increased load shedding.