Construction of the Mafeteng solar power plant to begin 2021

Originally writtend by Inès Magoum on Afrik21

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

According to recent statements by the Lesotho authorities, construction work on the Mafeteng solar photovoltaic power plant will begin in five months. The installation will have a production capacity of 70 MWp.

The Mafeteng district in Lesotho will soon have a 70 MWp photovoltaic solar power plant. The project, which has been under development for almost three years, has just been given a new boost. In recent statements, the authorities of this southern African country have indicated that construction work on the plant will begin in five months. This decision follows the opening by Exim Bank of China of a line of credit to finance the project. The value of the line of credit was not disclosed. But a few months ago, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese embassy, Ma Guoliang, said that the Lesotho government was negotiating a loan of 2 billion Lesotho Lots (more than $121 million).

The photovoltaic solar power plant will be installed in the locality of Ha-Ramarothole, in the district of Mafeteng and will occupy a 220 hectare plot of land. The works will be carried out by two Chinese companies, notably China Sinoma International Engineering and TBEA Xinjiang New Energy. The construction of the facility will be carried out in two phases.

Lesotho Electricity Co planned to develop 70 MW Mafeteng Solar PV Power Plant Project, in Mafeteng, Lesotho. The role of the Chinese EXIM bank suggested a foreign EPC contractor, and perhaps operator. The project was expected to run in two phases.

The first phase was the construction of the 30 MW plant, which would start as soon as the two parties reached the loan agreement. The phase II would produce 40 megawatts. It would start following a monitoring and evaluation interval on the first phase.

Facilities would be built and transferred to Lesotho Electricity Co after a knowledge transfer period. The project narrowed 13% of the electricity gap and alleviated local power shortage to some extent.

The first stage of the project will make it possible to inject 30 MWp of electricity into Lesotho’s national power grid. This phase is expected to cost $70 million. The second part of the plant, with a capacity of 40 MWp, will require an investment of $77 million.