World Bank Solar Power Project Targets Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal Following Success in Zambia

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Scaling Solar, a World Bank Group (WBG) initiative aimed at unlocking private investment in emerging markets, has set its sights on Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal following the success of its program in Zambia.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has finalized financing for the construction of Zambia’s first large-scale solar power plant.

The plant is the first project to be developed, tendered, awarded, and financed under the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar program.

On December 20th, 2017, the WBG confirmed that financing agreements have been signed between Bangweulu Power Corporation Limited and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Lusaka, Zambia.

Neoen and First Solar, organisations that sponsored the deal, last month issued a notice to proceed for the construction of the new facility.

The Bank said that the facility’s low-cost renewable power will help the country cope with droughts that have afflicted its hydropower facilities.

Following Zambia’s new boon, Senegal’s government is now working with the World Bank Group to develop up to 200 megawatts (MW) of solar power through the Scaling Solar project. According to World Bank data, just over half the population of Senegal currently has access to electricity.

Madagascar is also set to benefit from the initiative.

“For Madagascar, the third African country to join Scaling Solar, a new 30-40 megawatt solar facility will help ease daily interruptions of power serviced,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The island nation suffers from frequent power outages, and under one-fifth of the population has access to electricity.

In the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report, Madagascar was ranked 187 out of 189 countries regarding the difficulty, delay, and cost of getting electricity.

Ethiopia is the fourth country to join Scaling Solar. Ethiopia Electric Power, a utility company that operates within the East African nation,  signed an agreement with the IFC to advise on developing up to 500MW of solar power under the initiative.

Although Ethiopia has huge renewable energy potential it currently has an energy shortfall of 500MW, with over 70 percent of its energy coming from hydropower.

“Solar power will help diversify Ethiopia’s energy mix and allow it to manage its water resources more effectively,” the Bank said in a statement.

According to the global lender, Scaling Solar brings together a suite of World Bank Group services under a single engagement aimed at creating viable markets for solar power in each client country.

The program aims to make privately funded grid-connected solar projects operational within two years and at competitive tariffs. When implemented across multiple countries, the program will create a new regional market for solar investment.

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