JA Solar – the China-headquartered manufacturer of solar PV products – has won a $179 million contract to supply 100 MW of PV modules for a ground-mounted solar array in Zimbabwe.
The project forms one-third of a 300 MW solar development in the country, comprising Zimbabwe’s first three large solar parks. The three contractors aligned to the project – which has a total PV module contract value of $544 million – are ZTE, Intratrek Zimbabwe, and China MCC17 Group.
JA Solar will supply its modules to the solar farm that China MCC17 Group is constructing, the company confirmed.
Construction of the solar project is expected to commence towards the end of next year, with completion penciled in for the end of 2017. The need for solar energy in Zimbabwe is acute, with the country regularly suffering from power outages across many of the nation’s largest cities.
Energy demand currently outstrips supply (the grid is constrained at 1,000 MW against peak demand of 2.2 GW), and Zimbabwe’s power-hungry mining sector – which is imperative to the nation’s financial health – consume an inordinate amount of the country’s energy, further exacerbating the outages and prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a state visit to Zimbabwe earlier this month, to agree to a series of collaborative deals in the trade and energy sectors.
“Zimbabwe was President Xi’s first stop during his official visit to Africa, signaling that both countries should expect to see greater cooperation in the field of renewable energy,” said JA Solar executive president Xie Jian.
China’s ZTE Corporation will invest $146 million in a 100 MW solar plant as part of the wider project, while Intratrek Zimbabwe will work with China’s Chint Electric on a $202 million investment to develop the third, 100 MW solar park.