MAPUTO, Funding is guaranteed for the construction of a photo-voltaic power station capable of generating 40.5 megawatts (MW) of power in Mocuba district, in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia, according to a report in the independent daily, O Pais.

The total investment required is 76 million US dollars of which 55 million will come from a package put together by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the rest from Mozambique’s own electricity company, EDM.

The projected Mocuba solar power station is a public-private partnership (PPP) project between the Norwegian energy producer, Scatec Solar, and State-owned EDM.

The IFC funding was announced during the African Energy Forum held last week in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, an annual gathering which brings together representatives of governments, financial agencies, energy companies, regulators, and major power consumers from Africa and industrialized countries.

Scatec Solar Chairman Raymond Carlsen said the company was committed to making use of Mozambique’s solar potential, and in guaranteeing the stability of the network.

“This is particularly important for a country which depends on a power transmission system with very long power lines that are vulnerable to interruptions. It is our intention to leverage and support projects of this kind that guarantee greater resilience for the country’s energy sector,” he added.

EDM chairman Mateus Magala said signing the Mocuba financing agreement was a great victory for EDM and for the energy sector in Mozambique.

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

The Mocuba power station will be the largest solar power plant in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, and it is expected to supply power to 175,000 households. Output is estimated at 80,000 megawatt-hours per year, or 4.8 per cent of the country’s currently available electricity capacity, and 40 per cent of the electricity grid north of the Zambezi River. CESOM is expected to complete the power plant in 2018.