After a turnover of US$ 67 million, one of Malawi’s first solar projects entered the financial close. The construction of the first site is to be finished by March 2020 and works have started in Nkhotakoto. After the project has been completed, the clean energy supply will add 46 MW.
Established with the help of ABS and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), PhanesGroup.com (UAE) was the outcome of the first power purchase agreement (PPA) signed in March 2019 with Malawi’s National Energy Corporation (ESCOM). This was established by the UAE-based Phanes Group (PhanesGroup.com). This was the first open energy sector tender in Malawi, and the PPA is expected to last 20 years.
After an international tendering process that received bids from 21 companies around the world in May 2017, Phanes Group and its partners were awarded the project. Throughout the project development, the Phanes Group will work closely with its partners: responsibility supports equity funding while at the same time assuming a joint development position. OPIC provides debt funding and Natsons is the advisor for local development.
This project would improve access to affordable, secure, and diversified energy for underserved communities in certain poorest regions of Africa
Malawi will also change its conventional reliance on hydroelectric energy from its program, which currently includes over 95% of the nation’s energy mix. This made the country vulnerable to droughts, especially given that the water levels of Lake Malawi have recently fallen, which threatened the region’s energy supply. The new power plant will meet the challenge and play an important role in the day-to-day supply of electricity to Malawi.
For the communities covered by the project, Phanes Group will devote part of its annual budget for CSR initiatives. Some of this money will go to local NGOs, such as the Malawi Vision Fund, to help tackle local problems and encourage the future development of the region. Phanes Group will provide infrastructure for access to water and electrification of major community buildings in collaboration with these organizations.
Additionally, it will support women in the community through programs to empower them, such as increasing access to HIV testing and therapy, training and support for women’s savings and lending groups in financial and business management as well as promoting vocational skill-building initiatives.