INTERVIEW-Zambia to triple power generation in two years with solar – by Stella Mapenzauswa and Chris Mfula (Reuters India – September 16, 2015)

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LUSAKA, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Zambia expects to triple power output to 6,000 megawatts (MW) in 2 years through expansion of solar energy by foreign investors, the head of its investment agency said.

Erratic electricity supplies have hit mining in the continent’s second biggest copper producer, where the bulk of its generation capacity of 2,200 MW of power is water-powered.

The power problems and copper price slide have driven the kwacha currency to record lows amid a selloff in commodity-linked currencies as top copper consumer China’s economy has slowed.

Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Director General Patrick Chisanga said he had held “very positive” talks with an unnamed German company aiming to invest $500 million in a solar power plant but did not disclose its planned location.

“It is planned that they could produce about 400 megawatts of power in two steps,” Chisanga told Reuters.

“This is still at discussion stage but the investor is very keen and we envisage that early in the first quarter of next year we should see some serious development on the ground.”

Another group of investors from Italy were looking to set up a solar plant in the Lusaka South multi-facility economic zone and two others in the Western and Northwestern provinces.

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