Construction of a 54 megawatt (MW) Kafue solar power plant in Zambia has begun in earnest, Sterling and Wilson an Indian firm behind the project has announced.
The project will be constructed at a cost of US$60 million, Sterling and Wilson head of human resource for northern region Atul Goyal said.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call to Zambia’s High Commissioner to India Judith Kapijimpanga in New Delhi, Goyal said that the Kafue solar power plant will be built on a 52 hectare land. He added that it will be completed within eight months.
“President Lungu directed the Industrial Development Corporation to urgently drive the development and installation of at least 600MW of solar power countrywide, to tackle the power deficit in Zambia,” Mr Goyal said.
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by first secretary for press at the Zambian mission in India, Bangwe Naviley.
The Kafue solar power plant is especially important to Zambia as it promotes clean energy and will result in skills transfer.
On her part Ms Kapijimpanga said investing in Zambia’s energy sector is a good move by Sterling and Wilson, especially that electricity tariffs are now cost-reflective.
“The project will not only profit over two million residents of Lusaka and Kafue but Zambia as a whole and the eight neighbouring countries,” she said.
Ms Kapijimpanga said the mission will fully support the project as part of Zambia’s development agenda.Zambian energy is largely hydroelectric.
Like most African countries, electricity is not readily available in most Zambian households, especially in the rural areas. Fuel wood meets almost all the energy requirements of rural households. This has resulted in deforestation of large tracts of land.
The trend is however not confined to rural areas alone. Land around urban areas like Lusaka and the Copperbelt towns are deforested as a result of charcoal burning. Charcoal is also the most common energy used in urban areas.