MAPUTO– Construction has begun on a solar power plant in Mocuba district in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia after Norwegian energy company Scatec Solar announced that it has reached financial closure on the project.

The project is a public-private partnership between Scatec Solar and Mozambique’s publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, and project debt financing will come from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

The 40-megawatt (MW) Mocuba power station will be the largest solar power plant in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, and is expected to supply electricity to 175,000 households, with an estimated output of 80,000 megawatt-hours (mWh) per year, or 4.8 per cent of Mozambique’s currently available electricity capacity.

The power station will be operated by the company CESOM (Central Solar de Mocuba), owned by Scatec Solar (with a 52.5 per cent stake), EDM (25 per cent), and the Norwegian Investment Fund, Norfund (22.5 per cent). CESOM has signed a 25-year agreement to sell the power to EDM.

The project is budgeted at 76 million US dollars, which will be funded through equity of 14 million USD, a grant of 7.0 million USD, and project debt of 55 million dUSD. The project debt consists of 19 million USD from the IFC, a concessional loan of 19 million USD from the Climate Investment Fund, and a syndicated loan of 17 million USD from the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF).

EDM chairperson Mateus Magala says: EDM is very pleased that the Mocuba Solar IPP project has reached financial close through a well structured public-private partnership between EDM, Scatec Solar and Norfund, and with excellent support from IFC and EAIF as lenders, as well as the Government of Norway.”

Norfund’s Mark Davis says: Norfund appreciates being a partner in this first solar power project in Mozambique. Access to reliable energy is a prerequisite for development. Clean energy is therefore a focus investment area for us.”