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Ethiopia to construct six solar plants, launches tender

The government of Ethiopia is to construct six solar plants with a combined
800 MW for which it has launched a tender for their construction across four states.

The nation’s Ministry of Finance said the planned tender would represent a huge expansion of Ethiopia’s Scaling Solar program. They will be developed under a public-private partnership framework and their construction is expected to raise around US $795m.

The large scale projects will be developed in Afar, Somali, Oromia and Tigray. The tender will be an expansion of the 500 MW solar plan the Ethiopian government is implementing under the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Scaling Solar program, an initiative under which the IFC is organizing reverse auctions for solar as well as providing financing and guarantees for investors to reduce funding risks.T

The tendering process is Ethiopia’s third for large-scale solar. The exercise is Ethiopia’s third tender for large-scale solar. The first and second tenders were part of the Scaling Solar scheme.

The first, issued by state-owned power company Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and won by Italian energy company Enel in October 2017, will bring online a 100 MW solar plant in Metehara, in Oromia, central Ethiopia. The second tender was issued by the EPP in October 2017 and intended the construction of two 125 MW solar facilities. For that procurement, the power utility pre-selected 12 developers in March last year.

Ethiopia’s energy strategy aims to deploy 300 MW of solar by 2020. The country has around 4.3 GW of installed power generation capacity, of which 3,810 MW is in the form of hydro installations, 324 MW wind, 7 MW geothermal and 143 MW of diesel. The projects will help promote the use solar energy to replace fuel-based lighting among rural households and off-grid electrical needs. Approximately 25000 houses will have access to electricity upon completion. Ethiopia’s energy strategy aims to deploy 300 MW of solar by 2020.

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