JA Solar announced on December 9th that it has won a contract to supply 100 MW of photovoltaic ("PV") modules to one of the first three large-scale ground-mounted solar power facilities in Zimbabwe. The projects will have a combined installed capacity of 300 MW and the three contractors for these projects are ZTE, China MCC17 Group and Intratrek Zimbabwe. JA Solar will supply its PV modules to China MCC17 Group for the project it is constructing.
According to information provided by the State Procurement Board of Zimbabwe, the power plants will be located in Munyati, Insukamini (small community near Munyati), and Gwanda, the capital of Matabeleland South (Zimbabwean province located next to the Botswana border). A spokesperson for JA Solar said that the company began negotiations with the Zimbabwe Power Company to supply modules for the Munyati project earlier this year. The spokesman further explained that China MCC17 Group chose JA Solar as their exclusive module supplier after winning the bid to construct the Munyati project.
The three projects involve a total PV module contract value of US$544 million, US$179 million of which was won by JA Solar. The projects are scheduled to commence construction near the end of 2016 or early 2017, and are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Zimbabwe, like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, faces a severe shortage of electricity. Currently, the majority of the country's electricity is supplied by one large thermal power station, three smaller thermal power stations and a hydropower station. These power plants fail to meet the country's electricity demand, as nearly a half of the power generation units have been out of service for several years. This, coupled with inordinate consumption of electricity by mining companies, has resulted in sweeping blackouts in cities across the country. Over the past two years, the Zimbabwean government has sped up the construction of power projects, including the three large-scale ground-mounted PV power plants. In an era where governments across the globe have been increasingly focused on the development of renewable energy, businesses that can meet this growing need will be faced with greater opportunities. Following Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Zimbabwe on the morning of December 1, 2015, both countries agreed to engage in a series of collaborations in multiple sectors, including trade and energy.
Xie Jian, executive president of JA Solar, said, "Zimbabwe was President Xi's first stop during his official visit to Africa, signalling that both countries should expect to see greater cooperation in the field of renewable energy. Winning the contract to supply PV modules to the Zimbabwe project not only provides opportunities for JA Solar to establish stronger relationships in Zimbabwe but also helps lay a foundation for the company to develop relationships with other African countries. JA Solar will continue its commitment to providing higher-quality solar products for markets across the globe, as we continue to pursue the highest quality in our products in order to best serve our customers."
The leader from China MCC17 Group commented, "We are dedicated to making the Munyati solar project the first completed solar project in Zimbabwe, to serve the electricity needs of the Zimbabwean people."