Zambia shortlists seven in IFC-backed solar auction

The auction will help build the country’s first large-scale solar projects with help from a World Bank Group programme called Scaling Solar.

Zambia's Industrial Development Corporation, backed by the International Finance Corporation , has accepted bids from seven major renewable energy developers who want to build the country's first two large-scale solar projects. 

The two cheapest proposals will build a 50MW solar project each, according to the IFC. That would suggest the two winners are a consortium of First Solar and NEOEN, a French company comprised of Impala, Omens Capital and Bpifrance at 6.02 cents per kilowatt hour, and Enel Green Power, which bid 7.84 cents per kilowatt hour. These rates are 25-year tariffs subject to the tender's completion. 

The other bidders, narrowed from 48 who originally expressed interest, include Access Power MEA and EREN; EDF Energies Nouvelles; Mulilo Zambia; Globeleq and Shanghai Electric Power with AVIC. 

This is the first project for the World Bank Group's Scaling Solar programme, which is a combination of World Bank services that enable developing countries to stage large-scale solar auctions. IFC, a member of World Bank, acted as the Zambian government's lead advisor and helped run the tender process for the two projects. 

“The experience in Zambia has proven the effectiveness of Scaling Solar to help countries add solar power to their energy mix quickly and affordably,” Dan Croft, a senior investment officer at IFC, said. 

Round two of Zambia's Scaling Solar program has already begun, targeting 200MW. The other two countries signed up for the programme are Madagascar and Senegal.