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Golomoti Solar prepares to commence construction in Malawi

TagsEnergy Access, Finance and Investment, Renewable Energy

The 20MWAC Golomoti Solar project with a 5MW/10MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) in Malawi has secured finance from InfraCo Africa and its project partner JCM Power.

Golomoti Solar will be the first commercial-scale solar photovoltaic plant in Malawi to include a BESS. Along with its sister project, Salima Solar, Golomoti is among the first commercial-scale solar photovoltaic plants in the country.

Located in Dedza, approximately 100km south east of Lilongwe, the Golomoti Solar plant will facilitate delivery of much-needed clean power to Malawi’s national grid.

With support from Business Energy and Industrial Strategies International Climate Finance through the UK’s Energy Catalyst and RINA, the project will incorporate a state-of-the-art 5MW/10MWh lithium-ion BESS.

The BESS will enable the plant to provide reliable power and improve network stability, reducing reliance on hydro and diesel generation, whilst ensuring that grid stability is maintained. It is anticipated that performance data from the BESS will inform similar systems elsewhere in the region.

Golomoti Solar to be operational in 2nd half of 2021

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister for Energy Hon. Newton David Kambala, said: “I have the singular honour to officially launch the construction of the 20MWAC solar plant with storage, here at Golomoti in Dedza District.”

He continued: “This groundbreaking ceremony is historic in the electricity sector because it is the first solar plant with storage by a private Independent Power Producer. I must commend JCM management for the effort put into their two projects in Salima and Dedza. All these efforts are being made amidst the challenging environment of COVID-19…I can only say congratulations on this occasion…I am more than optimistic that you will deliver just as you have done on the Salima project.”

Gilles Vaes, CEO of InfraCo Africa, which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), commented: “As part of our commitment to Malawi’s renewable energy sector, we are pleased to be working with our partners at JCM to deliver a further 20MWAC of clean power to the grid.”

Vaes added: “This key milestone has been made possible by the strong support the project has received from the Government of Malawi, regulators and the state utility, ESCOM. By generating additional power and pioneering energy storage, Golomoti Solar will ensure that homes and businesses in Malawi will have access to more reliable electricity to drive economic growth.”

JCM Power’s Co-Founder and Head of Africa, Justin Woodward, said: “During what has been an unprecedented year, this project marks a renewed commitment from all stakeholders that Malawi is an attractive destination for foreign investment. With the addition of batteries, the project will provide the foundation for Malawi to continue to be a regional leader in the renewable energy industry.”

Golomoti Solar has benefited from knowledge-sharing with its sister project, Salima Solar, with both projects key to transforming regulatory frameworks around Malawi’s renewable energy sector.

Salima Solar is expected to begin delivering power to Malawi’s national grid in early 2021, with Golomoti becoming operational in the latter half of 2021.