Turkey's YEO to launch solar-plus-storage project in Zambia in partnership with GEI Power

By bne IntelliNews May 8, 2024

Zambian sustainable energy company GEI Power is partnering with Turkey’s YEO to develop a 60 MW solar plant with a 20 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in the Choma district of the African country.

Valued at approximately $65mn, the facility – vaunted as the country’s first solar plant with battery storage – is due to start commercial operations in September 2025 and provide at least 65,000 households with electricity. 

GEI Power’s managing director, Ignatius Anayawa, said that feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and grid impact studies have all been conducted, pv magazine writes.

The companies have set up a special purpose vehicle, Cooma Solar Power Plant Limited, to build and operate the project. GEI’s website says its offtaker will be a Zambia state utility and mining firm.

The government said in April it would import electricity to plug a generation deficit of 700 MW expected in 2024. The continent’s second-biggest producer of copper generates 86% of its electricity from hydropower plants, which have been affected by low water levels following a severe drought.

Mining companies have been warned of fluctuations in power supply due to the reduced generation capacity, raising concern over the country's copper output. Zambia's copper output declined to about 698,000 tonnes in 2023 from 763,000 tonnes the prior year, according to the country's mining chamber.

Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Francesca Chisangano Zyambo has urged YEO and GEI Power to move quickly to commission their project.

“We also want to tap into the engineering and battery storage innovation expertises from Turkey and set up an assembly plant in the country,” she said in a statement.

Zambia's installed solar capacity stood at 124 MW at the end of 2023, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

YEO is a Turkey-headquartered energy solutions and technology firm with its own grid-scale, 688kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) BESS product via subsidiary REAP Battery, alongside engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.

GEI Power has several projects underway in Zambia. Apart from the Cooma project, it also lists the 50MW PV-plus-BESS Kazungula Solar Power Plant (KSPP) in its pipeline, also in Choma and in advanced development. Energy Storage News writes that it also has two solar-plus-green-hydrogen projects listed, in the Chinkakata and Sesheke districts.

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