InfraCo Africa, JCM and Matswani to develop solar power in Malawi

18th Sep 2017

InfraCo Africa committed US$2.6m to co-develop a ground-breaking 40MW on-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Malawi, in 2016. The Salima Solar project will combine the expertise of leading solar developer, JCM Power (JCM), African developer, Matswani, and InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa is a publicly funded company which provides risk capital and development expertise to early-stage infrastructure projects. Together they will develop, finance, construct and operate one of Malawi’s first commercialscale solar PV plants.

The GoM has identified energy as a key driver for the country’s economic growth. However, demand for energy far outstrips supply – a gap that is likely to widen as mining and manufacturing industries expand. The GoM, national utility ESCOM and others have invested in upgrading the grid network and new regulations have been developed to reassure Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who are keen on participating in Malawi’s energy sector. Projects like Salima Solar are among the first to be undertaken under the new regulatory frameworks and will have a demonstration effect for future private sector involvement in Malawi’s energy sector.

Alex Katon, InfraCo Africa’s Executive Director said: “InfraCo Africa is uniquely positioned to provide patient risk capital and expertise to bring bankable infrastructure projects to market in countries such as Malawi. It can also access key grant and debt funding where required, prioritising the development of pioneering, replicable projects that can establish precedents in those countries that most need them.”

InfraCo Africa and its partners have now been granted permission to proceed with acquiring land 75km east of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, to progress the Salima Solar project. The project could mobilise up to US$60 million in investment from the private sector and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and will provide much-needed renewable power to Malawi’s national grid by 2019.

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