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Zambia to benefit from 60 MW solar power station

An image of a solar wind hybrid power plant

COMPOUNDED ENERGY The CEC will invest in to greener and more long-lasting energy through its Itimpi solar plant

17th May 2024

     

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Zambia-based power infrastructure solutions provider Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) took a significant stride towards sustainable operations with the successful commissioning of the $200-million, 60 MW Itimpi solar photovoltaic power station, in Garneton, Kitwe, last month.

The plant was officially opened by the Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema, who was joined by other dignitaries and stakeholders.

The construction of the Itimpi power station – with an investment of over $53-million – was financed through the first tranche of the CEC Renewables’ $200-million green bond listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange.

CEC plans to access further tranches of the green bond to finance future solar developments with associated storage technology, including a planned 126 MW solar plant on the same site, scheduled for construction in 2025.

“What CEC has done today adds to our agenda as a nation to generate diversified electric energy. When CEC does what they have done today, we must see that [Itimpi solar plant] is a Zambian asset and investment which will contribute to the national economic development agenda,” said Hichilema.

“The combination of our Itimpi, and our Riverside solar plants, will deliver a total annual energy output of 186 GWh . . . The drought we have experienced this year is a wake-up call for the energy sector to be at the centre of driving lasting solutions that will ensure a consistent power supply to our economy at all times,” said CEC MD Owen Silavwe.

The Itimpi solar power station is expected to offset 122 000 t of carbon emissions a year, complementing CEC’s efforts to support Zambia’s Nationally Determined Contribution in reducing carbon emissions.

The plant, equipped with sun tracking technology, has a yearly generation capacity of 130 GWh and covers an area of 80 ha, with 109 144 mono-crystalline bifacial solar modules and 200 inverters.

CEC reports that its investment in renewable-energy sources underscores its commitment to corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

In this regard, the company points out that, during the construction phase of the Itimpi project, over 1 220 skilled and unskilled workers were employed, and CEC partnered with the Forestry Department to provide earning opportunities for wood merchants from the trees felled during land clearance.

The commissioning of the Itimpi solar power station marks a significant milestone in CEC’s journey towards a diversified and sustainable energy mix, solidifying its position as a major role-player in the energy transmission sector and contributing to Zambia’s efforts to achieve its sustainable development goals.

CEC board chairperson London Mwafulilwa emphasised the company’s commitment to partnering with the government and other sector players to advance the electricity sector and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country.

“This is an affirmation of our commitment as CEC to partnering first of all with the government and indeed with other sector players to contribute to the advancement of the electricity sector and the socioeconomic development of our country,” he concluded.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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