Power Africa has supported the development of 208 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation projects in Zambia. In addition, various firms have received U.S. Embassy support to move transactions forward. The page below gives an overview of the energy sector in Zambia, explains Power Africa's involvement and lists Power Africa’s financially closed transactions in the country, some of which are already online and generating critical electricity supply for the people of Zambia.

Bangweulu Solar Plant, Zambia
Bangweulu Solar Plant, Zambia


Population: 17.35 million | GDP (1): $26.72 billion

Zambia has 2,800 MW of installed electricity generation capacity, of which 85% is hydro based. National access to electricity averages at 31% with 67% of the urban and 4% of the rural population having access to power. The Government of Zambia (GoZ) set a goal for universal electricity access for all Zambians by 2030. Energy has been identified as an important driving force behind economic development in Zambia, and the government has declared its commitment to developing and maintaining energy infrastructure and services. Although there are pockets of private sector activity in generation, transmission, and distribution, the vast majority of power in Zambia is operated by ZESCO, the vertically integrated state-owned utility.  However, the sector is opening up to new IPPs for on-grid and off-grid transactions. GoZ expects to bring online additional MW of solar, hydro, and thermal power through 2030. 


  • Installed Capacity (2): 3,030 MW
    • Hydro: 2,393 MW
    • Coal: 333 MW
    • Thermal/Diesel: 122 MW
    • Thermal/HFO: 91 MW
    • Solar: 91 MW

Power Africa New MW to date at financial close: 208 MW


  • Current Access Rate (3): 40%
    • Urban: 77%
    • Rural: 11%

Power Africa new connections: 548,671



Mapping Market Expansion for Off-Grid Companies in Southern Africa

Power Africa's publicly available route-to-market (RTM) tools provide geospatial data and techniques to map population density, electrification, telecoms, and road infrastructure to help solar home system (SHS) companies prioritize geographic markets for increased sales and greater energy access in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia.

READ MORE on our blog

Lighting the Way to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Zambia


Teresa from Chadiza in Zambia

Teresa lives in Chadiza, a small town in Zambia’s Eastern Province, where she runs a one-stop-shop that offers not only drinks, food, and toothpaste, but also pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) solar home systems (SHS).

Through her business savvy and an opportunity provided by SHS company, VITALITE, Teresa has significantly improved her own economic well-being, as well as that of her community.

In Zambia, where only four percent of the rural population has access to electricity, private sector SHS companies are expanding their reach to accelerate delivery of off-grid connections. The USAID Southern Africa Energy Program (SAEP), a Power Africa initiative, supports SHS companies by training employees to improve solar system sales and increase connections.

READ Teresa's story on our blog


Updated: October 21, 2019

Ngonye - Scaling Solar Zambia Round 1 (Solar – 34MW)

Financial Close Date: 12/31/2018
Commercial Operations Date: 08/13/2019
Estimated Project Cost: $49M
Overview: Power Africa partner the International Finance Corporation launched the Scaling Solar Program in Zambia, which will be the country’s first grid-connected solar PV plants. Power Africa Partner Enel Green Power was one of two winning bidders with an astounding $0.0784/kWh bid to develop 28 MW of solar power. Power Africa support included assisting ZESCO Limited, the state owned electricity utility with Power Purchase Agreement negotiations and contributing $2 million to Scaling Solar-Zambia.

Itezhi Tezhi (Hydro – 120MW)

Financial Close Date: 04/30/2014
Commercial Operations Date: 02/01/2016
Estimated Project Cost: $120M
Overview: The 120 MW hydro project is located at the base of the Itezhi Tezhi dam and is jointly owned by ZESCO Limited, the state owned electricity utility (50%) and a private holding group (50%). The project received support from Power Africa partners African Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa as well as the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and Propaco of France.

Bangweulu - Scaling Solar Zambia Round 1 (Solar – 54MW)

Financial Close Date: 05/01/2018
Commercial Operations Date: 04/2019
Estimated Project Cost: $70M
Overview: Power Africa partner the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched the Scaling Solar Program in Zambia. Bangweulu will be the country’s first grid-connected solar PV plants. The project was awarded to the Neoen S.A.S (French developer) in partnership with First Solar (US solar manufacturer) by Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC Zambia). When commissioned, this project will be the first grid-connected solar PV plant in Zambia. Power Africa supported ZESCO Limited with PPA negotiations and also contributed $2 million to the IFC project costs.


  3. World Bank Data, 2018