Enel Green Power (EGP) has initiated construction works on a 34MW Ngonye solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Zambia.

The solar PV plant will be the first to be built by Enel in the southern African country.

Located in Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone, the PV facility is part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme carried out by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

In 2016, IDC awarded Enel the right to develop, finance, construct, own and operate the solar PV plant.

"Ngonye solar plant will have the capacity to generate 70GWh annually, and will help reduces more than 45,000t of carbon emissions per year."

EGP head Antonio Cammisecra said: “The start of construction of Ngonye solar plant is a new milestone in the strengthening of the Enel Group’s presence in the African continent, where we already are the first private renewable operator in terms of installed capacity.

“Ngonye, with its clean, sustainable and reliable power, will play a significant role in helping Zambia to meet its electrification goals, demonstrating once again that renewable utility-scale power plants are the most effective solution to give access to electricity in the continent.”

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Enel Group will be investing $40m for the construction of this project, which is slated for completion by the first quarter of next year.

In June this year, the group signed a financing agreement of $34m with IDC for the construction of the PV plant that include senior loans of up to $10m from the International Financing Corporation (IFC), up to $12m from the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program and up to $11.75ms from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

EGP will hold 80% stake in Ngonye solar plant through a special purpose vehicle, while the remaining 20% will be held by IDC.

The PV project is supported by a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with Zambia’s state-owned utility ZESCO.

Once operational, Ngonye solar plant will have the capacity to generate 70GWh annually, and will help reduces more than 45,000t of carbon emissions per year.