Ngonye marks the Enel Green Power’s first power plant in Zambia and is located in Lusaka South multi-facility economic zone in the southern region of the country.

Enel Green Power said that the solar power plant is part of the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar program carried out by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

In June 2016, the company received the right to develop, finance, construct, own and operate the plant from IDC.

Enel Green Power head Antonio Cammisecra said: “With the connection to the grid of Ngonye in Zambia, we are reconfirming our commitment to helping the country leverage on its vast wealth of renewable resources, which poses a great opportunity for growth.

“Through this project we are boosting the government’s ambitious push to improve access to electricity throughout the country, while diversifying its generation mix to hedge against severe drought and climate change effects. This successful project also confirms that effectively-designed development programmes, like Scaling Solar, are key to attracting private renewable investments in Africa.”

The Ngonye solar plant is owned by a special purpose vehicle, in which EGP holds 80% ownership and IDC holds 20%. The facility is supported by a 25 year power purchase agreement signed with Zambia’s state owned utility ZESCO.

Once fully operational, the facility is expected to produce around 70GWh per annum, while avoiding more than 25,600 tons of CO2 emission into the atmosphere per annum.

The Enel Group has invested nearly $40m in the construction of Ngonye plant. In June 2018, Enel signed a financing agreement with IDC of around $34m for the construction of the PV plant, involving 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 $11.75m from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

In Africa, Enel Green Power is currently one of the largest independent renewable energy players in terms of installed capacity. By investing around €700m, the Group plans to build 900MW of wind and solar capacity over its 2019-2021 strategic plan.