Eswatini completes E255m solar project, powers up its sustainable energy
Eswatini has added two more solar PV plants to their sustainable energy portfolio as the Lavumisa 10MW Solar PV Plant project nears completion.
Aside from the increased rollout of sustainable energy projects, Eswatini says it has increasingly becoming less dependent on neighbouring Mozambique and South Africa for electricity.
Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) has recently issued an intention to award three 15 MW Solar PV projects to Globeleq/ Sturdee Energy Southern Africa consortium and ACED after a bidding process that began in 2019.
In a statement released to the media, Eswatini's Natural Resources and Energy Minister, Peter Bhembe said: “The Lavumisa 10MW solar plant is at completion stage. This is the first Solar PV plant to be owned and operated by the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) and the first utility-scale Solar PV plant in the country.”
The Minister further highlighted the importance of Renewable energy in Africa. "Africa must decide how it wants to feed, educate, provide healthcare and improve the welfare of its children by 2030, and beyond. Renewable energy is an enabler for all of this. This decision must not remain a political one, but one that is translated into enabling frameworks, project delivery and the productive use of energy, with the support of development agencies and partner countries."
The investment to date in the Lavumisa project amounts to €255-million, and the power plant will generate a capacity of about 13.75MW to deliver a guaranteed capacity of 10MW at the point of connection, with an expected yearly yield of around 22GWh.
In addition to the economic benefits, the project also created 170 jobs. It is anticipated additional job opportunities exist for future maintenance of the solar panels that span over 35 hectares and controlling the vegetation in the area.
The other three renewable energy projects currently underway include the generation of a further 40MW of Solar Power along with a 40MW Biomass power plant. ESERA procured Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to take on these projects.
The government says Eswatini's diversified approach to electricity generation means the country will be less dependent on importing power and focusing more on locally generated and sustainable power options.