Swaziland in southern Africa is line for a 100MW solar farm, according to local media reports.
The ground-mount project will be developed by Services Global L Power Swaziland (SGL Power) – a new electricity generating company specialising in solar, coal and gas power.
The project is to be called ‘Amanda Leh Lezwe’ with a US$185 million projected cost.
Up to 300 hectares of land is being leased for the project from House of Assembly Speaker, Prince Guduza Dlamini‘s 700 hectare farm. The lease is for 25 years, and is estimated to cost SLZ1.8 million (US$182,000) a year to lease the farm (SLZ500 per hectare per month).
The project is near the city of Manzini, and is scheduled for completion in September 2014. Construction is to start immediately, with the first electricity generation expected within the first four months, and full production within eight months.
SGL power has applied for a generating licence from the Swaziland Energy Regulation Authority (SERA), also negotiations with the Swaziland Investment Authority (SIPA) are ongoing for the best energy tariff to be arranged.The 100MW farm will be connected to the existing Swaziland Electrical Company (SEC) grid, with a power purchase for 25 years. Members of the public can inspect the application for 30 days as part of the Energy Regulatory Act (2007).
SGL Power shareholder, Johan Koekemoer, told local news Africatime: "PV is a clean, sustainable, renewable energy, which reduces the adverse anthropogenic impacts of fossil fuel use."
SGL Power is a joint venture of SGL Power Mauritius, which own 80%, Mafutha Unlimited Investment with 10% and Sarel Jacobus de la Rouviere and Johan Koekemoer owning 5% of the company each.
Solar irradiation levels are high in Swaziland but there are frequent power shortages and imported energy dependence. Most electricity in Swaziland is imported from utility Eskom, from neighbouring Mozambique and South Africa, causing high tariff rates.