Image source: Wikimedia

A multinational clean energy company has secured an order to establish 400 MW of solar photo-voltaic power plant capacity in the DRC. It is intended to gradually reduce energy scarcities faced by the mining industry in certain regions and will also be the first solar plant of the country.

The firm responsible for delivering the solar plant is Hanergy Thin Film Power Group. The agreement was signed – a strategic partnership framework between Hanergy and the Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo on 29 May.

Under the agreement, the two parties along with the National Power Company of the DRC will follow “EPC+F” financing model to make joint efforts through project cooperation and technical exchange to consolidate and increase cooperation in the fields of electricity, water, renewable energy and fuel.

The solar plant will specifically help reduce energy scarcity faced in the provinces of Katanga, Lualaba, Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï-Central, Kivu and Sankuru, where the two parties will set up SPV plants with a cumulative capacity of 400 MW upon signing of the formal contract. The execution of the co-operation will begin in December this year.

José Maboya Nzalingo, General Secretary of Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources says:

“Our strategic partnership with the global clean energy giant, Hanergy is a step ahead towards meeting the DRC’s original target of 65% electrification by 2025, letting alone the new Sustainable Development Goals of universal electricity access by 2030.”

The initial strategic partnership framework agreement suggests that energy generated in the first stage is estimated to be 20 MW, benefiting over 100 000 people. With the total capacity of 400 MW, the project also aims to generate around 10 000 jobs and providing education to create 100 technology specialists.

Guo Bin, CEO of Hanergy Uganda Company adds:

“The present 400 MW solar power station project is primarily aimed at meeting the on-peak demand of nearby mining companies and reduce local diesel consumption, while reducing carbon emissions substantially.”

Even though, the DRC is endowed with large mineral resources, its national electrification access rate was just 9% as per 2013 data, instigating major hindrance in the country’s economic development.

Despite, having abundant hydraulic and solar resources, the electricity infrastructure in the DRC is very poor with obsolete technologies for energy generation and transmission.

Since 2009, Hanergy has been working to integrate worldwide solar technologies, and making robust investment for the research and innovation in field of thin-film solar power.

The company’s solar cells set the world record for conversion efficiency several times, with the newest one being 29.1%. It launched and upgraded a handful of consumer products at CES Asia 2019, including Humbrella, the solar-powered parasol; HanPack, the solar backpack; HanPower, a portable solar power-bank product, retaining its leading position in the mobile energy sector.