NEO I SPV Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of OnePower Lesotho Pty Ltd., has received a $695,000 grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) for winning the 2016 Lesotho 20 MW solar Photo Voltaic (PV) tender. The project, once underway, will be the first utility-scale solar PV project in Lesotho.
“The Bank will support the structuring of the Project and lead it to bankability. Our ambition is to turn it into a reference solar PV project for the SADC Region.” said Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at AfDB.
The power will feed into the national grid in Mafeteng Province.
The Project will contribute to a strategic phase-out of costly power imports from Mozambique and to reducing Lesotho's reliance on imported coal-generated power from South Africa, thereby promoting independence of power supply, achieving substantial savings in the national budget and abating regional CO2 emissions.
It is also hoped that the solar power project in the Mafeteng Province of Lesotho will contribute approximately 13% to the Southern Afrikan country's maximum system demand of around 150 MW. By substituting 20 MW of costly imported power from Mozambique, it will decrease power retail prices in Lesotho. It will also entail greenhouse gas emission substitution effects as a result of reducing imports of thermally generated power from neighbouring state, South Africa.
Furthermore, the project will support rural development by stabilizing the grid in Mafeteng Province.