Mozambique: Construction of new solar power plant begins on Friday

The Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, on Friday laid the first stone for the Metoro Solar Plant, an infrastructure budgeted at $56 million (€47 million) and which will be built in Cabo Delgado province.

The infrastructure, to be built in nine months, will have a production capacity of 41 megawatts (MWp), equivalent to the consumption of 150,000 people, from solar panels, and will be connected to Mozambique’s Metoro electricity substation in Ancuabe district, said a project presentation document released to the media.

The French Neoen power station (75%) and Eletricidade de Moçambique (25%) are shareholders of the project, with funding provided by the French Development Agency (AFD), with a loan of $40 million (€34 million), and the remainder by the Mozambican government.

According to the project’s presentation document, after 25 years the infrastructure will be handed over to Electricity in Mozambique.

It is estimated that the plant will create up to 380 jobs in the construction phase and invest at least $60,000 (€50,000) annually in projects for local communities.

“An assessment of needs and dynamics in Metoro and Ancuabe was carried out in 2016, and a preliminary Community Development Plan was approved by the Ancuabe District Government in June 2018, with a focus on education,” the document said.

The infrastructure will be located 90 kilometres from Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado (in the north of the country), in Ancuabe district, 150 metres from National Highway Number 1.  

The project is being built in a province that has been the scene for three years of armed attacks by forces classified as terrorists, although there will be no incursions of these groups into the area where the centre will be located.

The armed violence in Cabo Delgado has affected districts located further north in the province.

In all, the Mozambican government and relief organisations, notably UN agencies, point to a total of 300,000 displaced by the armed conflict in Cabo Delgado.

There are different estimates for the number of deaths, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 victims.