Giant solar project announced in DR Congo


President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has laid the foundation stone for a vast, 1 GW Kinshasa Solar City photovoltaic project aimed at improving the capital’s power supply.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced plans for a 600 MW solar park for Menkao in the municipality of Maluku, 25km east of the capital, Kinshasa. The project will be the first in a 1 GW series of solar farms around the city, which has a population of ten million.

The city-wide project network has a power purchase agreement signed by national utility Société nationale d’électricité and the provincial government of Kinshasa with the Sun Plus subsidiary of U.S. real estate investor The Sandi Group. The 25-year deal will see the power company buy the electricity generated for $0.095/kWh.

The government has estimated the total cost of the 1 GW city solar network will be around $1 billion.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a population of 85 million, of whom only around 9% have access to electricity, a figure which falls near 1% in rural areas. The nation has total electric generation capacity of just over 2.67 GW, of which 2.54 GW is hydropower and 135 MW thermal. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates the country had 19 MW of solar power generation capacity at the end of last year.

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