This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
National access to electricity averages 31 percent; with 67 percent of the urban and only four percent of the rural population having access to power. As such, demand for power in the economy has grown rapidly in recent years and continues to grow. The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) states that the demand for electricity is growing at an average three percent each year. Zambia is a member of the Southern Africa Power Pool.
There are five main electricity generation companies in Zambia: the state-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited; Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC); North-Western Energy Corporation (NWEC); Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company (LHPC); and Maamba Collieries Limited. ZESCO, as a vertically integrated parastatal and the country’s largest electricity company, runs and operates power stations, transmission lines, and distribution networks, and is the only utility-scale off taker of independent power producers (IPPs). Zambia’s installed capacity stands at 2,800 Megawatts (MW); 85 percent of that is hydro-based and increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Main hydro power stations include Kariba North Bank Power Station, Kafue Gorge Power Station, Victoria Falls Power Station, Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Station, and the Itezhi Tezhi Hydro Power Station. There is one coal-fired plant, Maamba Collieries, which was commissioned in late 2016 and can generate up to 300 MW of power for ZESCO.
Zambia implemented the first Scaling Solar project by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in close coordination with the Ministry of Energy. In March 2019, a joint French (Neoen) – American (First Solar) consortium commissioned Zambia’s first utility scale solar project, a 47.5 MW plant that is providing power directly into ZESCO’s national grid. Italian firm Enel commissioned the second Scaling Solar project in May 2020, providing 26 MW of solar power to the grid.
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
Solar resources: Zambia has abundant renewable energy resources available throughout the country. The country enjoys long and intense hours of annual sunlight to support solar energy generation, averaging about 2,000-3,000 hours of sunshine per year. The solar power or PV market remains dominated by government, NGO, and donor funded projects. U.S. products are well-received, but face competition from China, South Africa, and India. The government initially intended to generate 600 MW through solar by 2020 but has currently realized only a fraction of that. It is considering policies that will incentivize a willing-buyer/willing-seller model for power purchase agreements (PPA). However, the financially distressed electricity parastatal ZESCO is currently the main off taker of large PPAs, which will likely limit large-scale development in the short term. In the meantime, market opportunities remain in home solar systems, in off-grid and mini-grid electricity systems, and in donor-funded projects that target the heath sector.
Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership aiming to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers tools and resources to private sector entities to facilitate doing business in sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector. The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 Institutionalized Power Africa. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa.
Power Africa, via its Southern Africa Energy Program (SAEP), has supported and continues to support a number of energy initiatives in Zambia. Support includes technical assistance to government institutions to develop a renewable energy feed-in tariff (REFIT) and the development of Multi-Year Tariff Framework (MYTF) Procedures, Rules and Regulations to enable regulators to set tariffs in advance over a three-year period to allow conditional adjustments in tariff changes to be factored into the utility. Power Africa also supported the introduction of IFC’s Scaling Solar program in Zambia, which has been key in financing critical costs necessary for a transparent, competitive bidding process to attract project developers, build institutional capacity, and catalyze market growth. Power Africa also supports the GET FiT Beyond-the-Grid projects in Zambia. To accelerate off-grid energy growth, Power Africa supports private companies providing solar home systems, minigrids, and/or microgrids. Power Africa is also assisting the Zambian government with energy sector policy issues and institutional capacity building. Learn more about how Power Africa Zambia is partnering to address Zambia’s electricity sector challenges and supporting private sector investment at: https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/zambia.
There are opportunities in electricity generation and transmission, refineries, storage facilities, pipelines for petroleum and gas, renewable energy facilities, and transport facilities for coal distribution and exports. Opportunities for solar energy include residential, schools, hospitals, health centers, commercial, utility, off-grid, and agricultural sector.
Key government and regulatory agencies for energy and solar projects:
Industrial Development Corporation (Zambia) Limited
61 Independence Avenue, Prospect Hill
P.O. Box 37232, Lusaka, Zambia
Tel: +260 211 843 567 | +260 211 843 568 | +260 967 773 007
Ministry of Energy
P.O. Box 50069
Tel: +260 211 252 666 | +260 211 252 698
Energy Regulation Board
Plot No 9330,
Off Alick Nkhata Road
P.O. Box 37631
Tel: +260 211 258 844 | +260 211 258 849