- DRC’s SNEL has entered PPAs with Financing Access for 200 MW solar power capacity in the country
- 100 MW project in Kolwezi will be built for $148 million, and another 100 MW facility in Likasi for $157 million, both in copper and cobalt rich regions
- Both projects will together generate 500 GWh annually to support electricity supply for urban, peri-urban and industries in the region
Interest in large scale solar is growing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the state-owned electricity utility of the country Société Nationale d’Électricité (SNEL) has entered power purchase agreements (PPA) for 2 solar power plants of 100 MW capacity each, set to be built for over $300 million, a report by Reuters said.
The investment is likely to be divided – $148 million for Kolwezi plant and $157 million for Likasi.
The 2 projects are planned to be located in the copper and cobalt rich region of the country with Africa focused renewable energy and agribusiness financier Financing Access as developer. Together, both the projects are planned to generate around 500 GWh of clean energy to benefit ‘major urban and peri-urban centres’, and ‘industrialists in the area, in particular the mining companies which represent the economic lungs of Haut-Katanga and Lualaba’ provinces.
According to Reuters, the lack of reliable electricity in the country is acting as an impediment to industrial development of the country especially for processing factories to add value to copper and cobalt exports.
It isn’t the first time large scale projects have made news for DRC. In August 2020, SNEL also entered a 25-year PPA with Sun Plus to procure 100% electricity from a 600 MW solar project the private firm is constructing in Kinshasa with potential to expand it to 1 GW (see 1 GW Solar Power Project In DR Congo).
Before that, China’s Hanergy entered a framework agreement with DRC to develop 400 MW solar PV capacity in the country (see Hanergy To Build 400 MW Solar PV In DR Congo). But Hanergy with its several thin-film companies ran into financial troubles; the plans for the power plant have not materialized.