Salima Solar plant, Salima District, Malawi: His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, has presided over an inauguration ceremony to mark the addition of 60MWac of additional clean energy to Malawi’s national grid. As Malawi’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant, Salima Solar is contributing to the country’s ambition to minimise its carbon emissions whilst promoting economic growth through access to reliable energy access.
Salima Solar was originally developed by JCM Power Corporation (JCM Power), Matswani, InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). FMO, the Dutch development bank, subsequently invested in the construction alongside JCM Power and InfraCo Africa. The companies will now operate and maintain the plant under the terms of a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement signed with the Malawian national utility, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM).
Addressing an audience of government ministers and invited guests, His Excellency said: “Salima Solar is the first solar PV plant in Malawi to connect to the national grid. As such, it is a blueprint for future projects in a number of respects…One of these things it does is demonstrate that Malawi is an attractive destination for private sector investment in the energy sector. Not only does Malawi have a vast energy market, owing to a demand for electricity that far outweighs the supply, but Malawi also boasts of a peaceful environment and strong regulatory frameworks.” As members of the local community and Salima Solar construction team looked on, His Excellency continued: “We must succeed at charting a path to development that is sustainable, so that future generations will see that we kept our track record of net zero carbon emissions intact. This solar power plant is a potent symbol of our commitment to that agenda, a commitment to building a new Malawi of access to clean and affordable energy, and I believe it is the first of many to come.”
His Excellency and Madame Monica Chakwera, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi, were welcomed to the Salima Solar site by members of the project Board of Directors including Justin Woodward, CoFounder and Chief Development Officer of JCM Power and Connor Dawson, Head of Asset Management for InfraCo Africa. Following a tour of the 170 hectare site, His Excellency unveiled a plaque and switched on the Power Plant. The event concluded with local dance performances.
Speaking at the event, Ms Fiona Ritchie, Malawi Development Director for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said “I am honoured to join you all today for this historic launch of the JCM solar facility here in Salima. The UK is delighted to support the Government’s drive to increase sustainable energy generation in Malawi and is especially proud of the joint collaboration on the Salima project between JCM Power and one of UK’s development finance vehicles, InfraCo Africa.” She thanked His Excellency for his recent attendance and support for the aims of the UK-hosted COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, saying “As we are witnessing here today, given Malawi’s huge potential for solar, wind and hydro power, there is a unique opportunity for Malawi to leapfrog over investment in expensive and outdated fossil fuels.”
Mr Woodward said: “We are proud to welcome His Excellency to officiate over today’s inauguration of the Salima Solar plant. The project partners would like to extend our thanks to his government and to ESCOM and Power Market Ltd for their ongoing support for the project and for their ambition to realise Malawi’s solar potential. With this support, InfraCo Africa and JCM Power are already building Malawi’s second utility-scale solar plant at Golomoti which will pioneer the use of battery energy storage, enabling us to further increase the reliability of renewable energy.”
Mr Dawson added: “I am proud to be representing InfraCo Africa and PIDG on this momentous occasion. I would like to echo Justin’s thanks to the Malawian government, ESCOM and Power Market Ltd for their ongoing support for the project. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the project team and the hundreds of local workers whose commitment to the project has brought us to where we are today. InfraCo Africa, FMO and JCM Power remain committed to Malawi. As well as delivering the Golomoti Solar project together, InfraCo Africa and JCM Power will continue our support for nearby communities through the EFFORT agricultural livelihoods programme and other initiatives in Salima District.”
Continuing their successful partnership, InfraCo Africa and JCM Power are working to construct the Golomoti Solar project in Malawi’s Dedza District. With support from Business Energy and Industrial Strategies International Climate Finance through Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst and RINA, Golomoti will be the first utility-scale solar grid-connected photovoltaic plant in sub-Saharan Africa to include a such Battery Energy Storage System. Together the two projects will increase Malawi’s installed power generation capacity by over 80MW by early 2022.
Notes for editors:
• The Government of Malawi and ESCOM, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Malawi Compact and with support from the World Bank, have worked to upgrade Malawi’s grid network and regulatory environment to attract Independent Power Producers to the country.
• The project signed a 20-year PPA with the Malawian national utility, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) in September 2018. Golomoti Solar, another project being co-developed by InfraCo Africa and JCM Power, also signed a PPA at this time.
• The 20MWac Golomoti Solar project is now under construction and is expected to deliver additional clean power to Malawi’s national grid in 2022.
• The Salima Solar project ties in with Power Africa’s initiatives in the region which aim to connect more people to the national grid. By addressing the shortfall of energy supply, Salima Solar will serve to enhance the ability of these initiatives to meet demand from newly connected customers.
• Further detail about the Salima Solar project can be found here: http://www.infracoafrica.com/project/salima-solar/
JCM Power: JCM Power is an independent power producer (IPP) dedicated to accelerating social, economic and environmental sustainability in growth markets through the development, construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure. Our driving vision is to advance the clean energy age. For more information please visit: www.jcmpower.ca
The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG): PIDG is an innovative infrastructure project developer and investor which mobilises private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. PIDG investments promote socio-economic development within a just transition to net zero emissions, combat poverty and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 171 infrastructure projects to financial close which provided an estimated 217 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland,
Australia, Sweden, Germany and the IFC www.pidg.org
InfraCo Africa: InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising private investment into high-quality infrastructure projects in subSaharan Africa’s poorest countries. It addresses the risks and costs of early-stage project development: funding teams of experienced developers and providing risk capital to those projects which need the financial commitment and leverage that InfraCo Africa can bring. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through DFID), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). To find out more visit: www.infracoafrica.com
Government of Malawi: Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy (2017-2022) recognises energy as a key driver of economic growth and an essential part of its wider vision to build a productive, competitive and resilient nation. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining promotes the sound utilisation and management of natural resources, energy and environment in Malawi, involving a range of stakeholders. It promotes development, implementation and compliance with policies, programmes and legislation and seeks to ensure participatory development and implementation of planning and monitoring tools and public awareness campaigns. The Ministry also provides efficient and responsive weather and climate services contributing to Malawi’s social development. Transforming the country’s energy economy from one that is dependent upon biomass to one with a high modern energy component is a key strategic objective for the Ministry. To find out more visit: http://www.malawi.gov.mw/
ESCOM: ESCOM is a limited liability company mandated to procure, transmit, distribute and supply quality, reliable
and affordable electricity to its customers; and to extend the benefits of modern electricity services to all Malawians. To find out more visit: www.escom.mw
FMO: FMO is the Dutch development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a more than 45-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally. To find out more visit: www.fmo.nl
For further information please contact:
Jonas Sani : Project Government Relations Officer at JCM Power via : firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorna McNae: Communications Manager at InfraCo via: email@example.com