Quantel Renewable Energy commences construction of 50 MWp Solar Plant

MALAWI – Quantel Renewable Energy, the US-based independent power producer, has announced the commencement of the construction phase for the 50 MWp Bwengu solar PV power plant in Malawi.

Quantel Renewable Energy is developing the project through a consortium that includes Danish energy company Frontier Energy, and Sri Lankan firm Vidullanka Plc.

The solar energy facility will be located in Ulalo Nyirenda village, just 1 km from the Bwengu Escome Substation. The plant will occupy 105 hectares of land and is estimated to require around US$65 million in investment to complete.

The renewable energy facility is set to help improve energy access in Malawi. Malawi has an electrification rate of just 11% as of 2019, according to data from the World Bank.

“This additional power is in line with the government’s ambition to generate 1,000 MW by 2025 as well as sustainable development goal number seven to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” Malawi’s Ministry of Energy said in a statement.

“Furthermore, this power plant is also harmonious with the National Energy Policy’s objectives to diversify the sources of energy for power generation and the locations of the power plants in the country.”

The 50 MWp Bwengu solar PV power plant will add to Malawi’s growing capacity of solar energy generation. In November last year Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, commissioned the 60 MW Salima Solar PV plant which was developed by Canadian renewable energy company, JCM Power.

Malawi is looking to improve its electricity sector through a raft of reforms. The government is implementing a series of restructuring programmes with the goal of increasing the availability of reliable electricity supply in the country.

These reforms include the unbundling of ESCOM and the establishment of the Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (EGENCO).

More recently, ESCOM has been further unbundled with the introduction of Power Market Limited (PML) which will become the Single Buyer in the energy sector – taking over PPAs signed between ESCOM and IPPs.

The Malawian government is hoping these reforms will help it attract more renewable energy investors and diversify its electricity generation mix.

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