The newly commissioned 1 MW ground-mounted PV-plant of CEC Enlarge

The newly commissioned 1 MW ground-mounted PV-plant of CEC

© GIZ - Peter Förster

The lack of rainfall and falling water levels as well as increasing electricity demand are causing supply difficulties for the energy industry in Zambia, which primarily uses hydropower to generate electricity. Numerous power failures lead to dependence on electricity imports from neighbouring countries and to rising electricity production costs, which in turn pose a financial challenge for economically relevant sectors in the country.

With an average solar radiation twice as high as in Germany, the use of PV-systems in Zambia in particular offers great potential. In April 2018, BayWa r.e. completed a large privately financed PV-project in Zambia with the commissioning of a 1 MWp grid-connected photovoltaic system. The owner and operator of the open space plant is the Copperbelt Energy Cooperation (CEC) Plc, a semi-public distribution grid operator in the north of Zambia which, in addition to its own infrastructure for electricity transmission, is also licensed to supply energy with its own power plants and to import and export energy.

The project was made possible by the concrete support of the Project Development Programme (PDP) – part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative – and the AHK Zambia which in close cooperation and coordination convinced CEC of the advantages of German engineering work. A central component for the implementation of the project was the German Training Week – Project Development, a comprehensive training programme in the field of project development. Moreover, in the course of the project the development of a curriculum for a course of studies in electrical engineering at Copperbelt University was supported, by integrating photovoltaic specific elements.

Aerial view of Solar Park Kitwe

Aerial view of Solar Park Kitwe

© GIZ - Peter Kammerer

German contribution

As EPC company the German partner BayWa r.e. was responsible for the planning and construction of the system, provided the technical components like panels, inverters and control systems and took care of the project handling.

Tobias Kriete, Regional Manager Africa of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH, expressed special thanks for the support of German companies in the development of foreign markets:

We are particularly proud of our contribution to the unique training programme, which enables local people to operate the plant in the long term without support from abroad. We will also use this transfer of knowledge for other projects we are currently planning in the region. Our special thanks goes to the PDP as part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative for supporting German companies in opening up foreign markets. Their commitment to quality made in Germany has proven to be extremely helpful.

The new plant was ceremonially launched on 20 April 2018 in the presence of the Zambian Minister of Energy, Hon. Matthew Nkhuwa, and the German Ambassador, Mr. Achim Burkart. During the event, the importance of the completed power plant as a beacon project for the future development of solar energy in Zambia, as well as the excellent cooperation between the Zambian and German partners was explicitly emphasized.

System Data:
Capacity:1 MWp
Annual yield:1,800 MWh/a
saved CO2 emissions1900 t/a
completionApril 2018
Module typeQ Cell
Inverter typeHUAWEI
Location:Kitwe, Zambia
Client:Copperbelt Energy Cooperation Plc
German business partner:BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH