- CEC has expanded its 1 MW Riverside Solar Power Plant in Zambia by an additional 33 MW capacity
- It is equipped with 61,300 solar modules, 150 inverters, 6 transformer stations and 4 kms of transmission line
- The project, built in Kitwe region for $22 million, is expected to generate 54.9 GWh annually
Zambian electricity generator Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has commissioned 33 MW Riverside Solar Plant in the country’s Kitwe region, expanding its 1st solar power plant from 1 MW to now 34 MW and plans to scale up its renewable energy capacity to 300 MW over the next 4 years.
The 1 MW solar power plant was the country’s 1st grid-connected solar power plant, commissioned by Germany’s BayWa r.e. in 2018. Addition of 33 MW has been accomplished in the form of 2 sub projects spread across 30 hectares. EPC services for the expansion were provided by Sinohydro Corporation Zambia Limited.
It comprises 61,300 solar modules, 150 inverters, 6 transformer stations and 4 kms of transmission line.
Built using its own $22 million, CEC expects the 33 MW project to generate 54.9 GWh annually.
CEC Chairman London Mawafulilwa said, “This solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant is, however, our first big foray into the renewable energy development space but certainly not our last.” He added, “The 34 MW that we have added to the grid will be supplemented by an additional 64 MW planned for Itimpi in Garneton right here in Kitwe, which we expect to come online by the end of this year.”
Looking into the future, CEC plans to commission a minimum of 200 MW renewable energy capacity by the end of 2024, and scale it up to 300 MW by 2026. The company also operates 80 MW thermal power capacity.
In a world bracing itself to face the impacts of climate change, Zambia is currently diversifying its power generation sources since it currently depends heavily on hydropower.
“One of the things we want to achieve in the power sector in Zambia, given our large resource, is hydro power development. Combining that with renewables such as solar and wind obviously gives us a very good operating regime that ensures that we can manage our water resources and be able to provide power to the Zambian communities on a consistent, reliable and secure basis,” CEC’s Managing Director, Owen Silavwe stated back in December 2022.
Earlier this year, UAE’s Masdar announced a partnership with Zambia’s ZESCO to jointly develop 2 GW solar power capacity in Zambia, starting with an initial 500 MW (see Masdar To Build $2 Billion Worth Solar Power Plants In Zambia).