Globeleq breaks ground on pioneering solar and storage power project in Mozambique
Globeleq, Africa’s independent power producer, and the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), the infrastructure development and finance organisation, announced it officially broke ground on the pioneering 19MWp solar and 7MWh storage power project at Cuamba in northern Mozambique, bringing clean power and jobs to the region. Globeleq is majority owned by CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor.
The $32m project marks a major milestone as it will be one of the first IPP grid-scale storage plants in sub-Saharan Africa. The Cuamba Solar project will provide clean energy to 18,000 households and support job creation in Niassa, one of the country’s poorest provinces with an electrification rate of just over 20 per cent.
The project will increase Mozambique’s insufficient power supply by adding clean energy to the Northern grid. By combining grid-connected solar with a battery storage component, the project will help solve network management issues and, by allowing some of the solar power to be shifted to different times of the day, helps avoid transmission losses from distant existing sources of supply.
The technology for battery storage is nascent and uptake of utility scale solutions remains limited globally. Currently, grants and concessional finance are often required to demonstrate the value of this emerging, but potentially transformative technology. Together with PIDG TA’s $7 million Viability Grant Fund award, CDC Plus – CDC’s technical assistance facility funded by UK Aid from the British people – has provided a grant to Globeleq for the 2MW / 7MWh storage solution, alongside the 19MWp of solar power. In line with CDC’s ambition to catalyse uptake of storage solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa, CDC Plus will also provide support to capture and disseminate learnings around the battery component’s operational, economic, and development impact.
PIDG company, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund is expected to provide a total of $19 million loan to the project, with a financial close forecast for Q3. Globeleq has been actively developing the project since 2019 alongside its local partners, Source Energia and Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), the state-owned electricity company, which also is the off-taker for the power.
Chris Chijiutomi, Head of Infrastructure Equity, CDC Group said, “Providing access to power is an essential part of driving economic development across Africa. We acquired Globeleq in 2015 with 1,200MW of operational power plants. Today, Globeleq has more than 1,400 MW operational power plants in 28 locations across six countries, with a further 305 MW in construction and more than 500 MW due to reach financial close in 2021, of which Cuamba is a part. We are delighted to be supporting Mozambique’s demand for new renewable energy supply across the country; 7 in 10 people in Mozambique today do not have access to electricity and 53% of firms report electrical outages. Robust storage technologies are fundamental for the transition to clean energy. CDC will continue to devote our capital and technical expertise to innovative uses in the power sector, focused on the path to sustainable energy systems for inclusive growth in our Africa markets.”
Jonathan Hoffman, Globeleq’s Chief Development Officer said, “This project is a trailblazer for future utility-scale energy storage in Mozambique and the region. Cuamba Solar Power, along with all our energy projects we are working on, cements our ongoing commitment to contribute to the long-term energy security and development of the country on a low carbon pathway.”
This commitment contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action).