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Scatec lands PPA for Lesotho’s first independently built solar plant

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated Lesotho had no grid-connected solar at the end of 2020.
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Norwegian renewables company Scatec has secured a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the first solar plant to be developed by an independent power company in Lesotho.

The developer will own a majority stake in the planned 20 MW solar project which will sell electricity to state-owned utility the Lesotho Electricity Company under a 25-year PPA signed off by the government of the Southern African nation.

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A press release issued on behalf of Scatec on Thursday did not indicate how much the electric company will pay for the clean power, where the project will be based or when it is expected to be operational, but did state Scatec expects financial closure on the facility early next year. pv magazine in 2017 reported a subsidiary of clean energy developer OnePower Lesotho had been awarded a $696,000 grant from an African Development Bank fund to draw up a business case for a 20 MW solar project in the Mafeteng district of western Lesotho but it is not clear whether this is the plant being developed by Scatec.

The solar farm will be part-financed by the U.K. government-backed Renewable Energy Performance Platform, which co-finances clean power projects in sub-Saharan Africa alongside private sector partners, has £148 million (€174 million) of public money, and is managed by London-based professional services company Camco Clean Energy.

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The other investors who will hold a stake in the solar plant are Norwegian state-owned development finance body Norfund; the OnePower Lesotho clean power start-up based in the capital of Maseru, and which was spun out of Massachussetts-based STG International; U.S.-based developer Izuba Energy; and the Lesotho Pension Fund.

Quoted in the press statement, Jan Fourie, Scatec general manager for sub-Sahara Africa, said: “We are proud to be the first IPP [independent power producer] to develop a solar project in Lesotho, an important step for Scatec in the country. The Southern African region is a key market for Scatec, and a region with great potential for the development of affordable clean energy. Scatec is the leading solar IPP in the region, and we look forward to expanding our footprint and developing more renewable energy in the years to come.”

This copy was amended on 01/12/21 after the company responsible for the press release quoted confirmed Izuba Energy is an American developer, rather than the French energy transition software company Izuba énergies.

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Source: pv magazine