Mega Solar

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Man inspecting solar panels

The multi-stakeholder Mega Solar initiative is Southern Africa’s largest solar power program and the first of its kind on the continent. Power Africa is providing and facilitating technical to advance multi-phased procurement of up to 5 gigawatts of renewable solar energy with a focus on projects in Botswana and Namibia.

An infographic highlighting Botswana and Namibia on a map plus text saying 2-5 GW of solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power

With abundant sunlight and high solar irradiance potential, Southern Africa is an ideal location for large-scale solar power projects. The first phase of the Mega Solar initiative centers on the competitive procurement of 300-500 megawatts of solar power in Namibia and Botswana, which will catalyze the procurement of additional generation that can supply low-cost renewable energy to neighboring countries once regional transmission lines are constructed.

The Mega Solar initiative is a commitment to large-scale solar development collaboration between Power Africa, the Governments of Botswana and Namibia, the African Development Bank, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation.

Power Africa is coordinating partner activities, supporting technical studies and institutional capacity building, and working with counterparts to establish the governance structures that will guide country-level project implementation.

“Unlocked by this partnership is the extraordinary development potential for life and globe changing clean energy, emanating from southern Africa on a pioneering scale of massive productive use” - Mark Carrato, Power Africa Coordinator

 

MEGA SOLAR PARTNERS


Power Africa logo Botswana coat of arms Namibia coat of arms AfDB logo

AUDA-NEPAD logo International Bank for Reconstruction and Development logo IFC logo

CROSS-CUTTING ACTIVITIES


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Power Africa Coordination: Through stakeholder engagement, the Mega Solar initiative maximizes collaboration and coordination of Power Africa partners and resources to overcome the barriers to large-scale solar procurement implementation. It complements Power Africa’s partnership model with up-to-date local market knowledge and expanded engagement with a host of regional actors.

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Institutional Capacity Building: Designing and delivering technical assistance that builds the capacity of local institutions and agencies, strengthening their ability to lead procurements of large-scale power projects.

 

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Gender Equity: Identifying opportunities for gender integration and using gender-sensitive participatory approaches, particularly in the area of capacity building.

 

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Environmental and Social Safeguards: Assisting governments and other stakeholders to identify and address environmental and social impact considerations related to large-scale solar procurements.

 

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Community Engagement: Developing utility, government, and private sector resources to support community engagement, and seeking to take community needs into account during project identification, feasibility analysis, and design.

 

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT


Through the Mega Solar initiative, Power Africa strives to build consensus and ensure the buy-in of local and regional stakeholders, leading to aligned and coordinated delivery of technical assistance resources by focusing on:

  • Building regional awareness of the large-scale solar procurement program;
  • Establishing governance bodies for consensus-building among local and regional actors and streamlining of key decisionmaking; and
  • Identifying technical and enabling environment challenges and assisting governments and other stakeholders to customize and implement solutions for successful procurements.

Key stakeholders include but are not limited to:

  • Ministries of Energy and Finance and other local authorities in Namibia and Botswana;
  • National utilities and regulators;
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its subsidiary bodies (SAPP, SACREEE, RERA);
  • Financiers;
  • International financial institutions; and
  • Collaborating Power Africa partners.

TECHNICAL STUDIES


Based on priorities outlined by country-level governance bodies to be established in Namibia and Botswana, and building upon the affirmed and evidence-based potential for a large-scale solar procurement program, Power Africa aims to support pre-feasibility and feasibility studies as well as other technical studies related to plant and system designs, transmission requirements, grid integration, and other areas that will assess the economic and financial viability of large-scale procurements. Power Africa also seeks to maximize its impact by fully leveraging the deployment of partner resources.

STRENGTHENING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY


Strengthening the institutional, technical, and legal capacity of countries in the region is critical to the successful implementation of large-scale solar procurement programs. Power Africa works alongside government stakeholders and provides assistance on:

  • Enhancements to legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Technical assistance to support system planning and operations
  • Establishment of national procurement units
  • Procurement design
  • Environmental and social impact considerations
  • Increased readiness for regional electricity trade

FROM OUR BLOG


Major Milestone Agreement Reached for Mega Solar in Southern Africa

Mega Solar is a partnership between Power Africa and the Governments of the Republic of Botswana and Namibia, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the African Development Bank to support the development of Southern Africa’s largest solar-generation program, which is estimated to result in 2–5 gigawatts of solar power.

READ MORE on our blog

 

CONTACT


Power Africa’s technical assistance to the Mega Solar initiative is provided through the Unlocking Southern Africa Solar program, implemented by Deloitte.

Liza Smit
Contracting Officer’s Representative
Power Africa
E: lismit@usaid.gov

Sri Sekar
Chief of Party
Unlocking Southern Africa Solar
E: ssekar@deloitte.com

Steven Wynters
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Unlocking Southern Africa Solar
E: stwynter@deloitte.com

 

Last updated: November 17, 2021

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