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Pioneering Cuamba solar project begins supplying energy to the national grid of Northern Mozambique

Central Electrica de Tetereane’s (CET) 19 MWp solar plant in Cuamba, Mozambique, financed by the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) with a $19 million loan, is now operational. The facility, inaugurated in the presence of H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique, supplies clean power to Niassa province, supporting communities and industries in one of Mozambique’s most underserved regions.

The new plant is one of the first Independent Power Producer (IPP) grid-scale storage plants in sub-Saharan Africa and Mozambique’s first utility-scale solar project to include battery storage technology. The plant, which employed 440 local workers during construction, provides renewable energy to approximately 21,800 consumers and is expected to avoid 172,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over its lifetime. The 2MW/7MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) enables energy generated from the plant to be flexibly deployed and helps boost solar output at peak demand times throughout the day, enhancing network resilience.

With PIDG, British International Investment (BII)’s technical support facility, BII Plus, provided a US$1 million technology innovation grant for the innovative BESS. PIDG’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) provided a $7 million Viability Gap Funding (VGF) grant to the CET, enabling a first-of-its-kind investment to reach financial close The Group’s uniquely integrated value proposition offers access to a variety of innovative sources of funding, and the project disseminates data and learnings that demonstrate the viability of battery storage systems.

The pioneering project provides a blueprint for utility-scale storage systems in new renewable energy projects in frontier and developing economies and is a critical contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 (delivering access to clean energy) and SDG13 (on climate action) – creating a robust platform to enhance productivity and economic growth in a province with an electrification rate of just 17%.

His Excellency Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique said at the inauguration, “The Cuamba solar and storage plant will provide greater energy security and stability in this region of Mozambique and marks a turning point for the Cuamba district. Globeleq, Source Energia and Electricidade de Moçambique, E. P. (EDM) have all invested in this project – a public-private partnership that demonstrates the confidence of international investors in Mozambique. This is the third large-Scale Solar Plant in Mozambique and the second that has the support of the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Norway, two long-time friend and partner countries.”

Olivia Carballo, Director at Ninety One, the fund manager of the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, commented, “We are delighted to bring Mozambique’s first solar plant utilising BESS technology online, which will be transformative for communities in a province where less than two in ten people had access to energy. The Cuamba solar project was the 22nd renewable energy project supported by EAIF and our first investment using BESS technology. Its uptake is vitally important for the further adoption of solar energy on the continent and critical to ensuring a consistent and reliable electricity supply.”