SNEL inks a deal to install 200 MW solar fields in Congo's copper belt

SNEL inks a deal to install 200 MW solar fields in Congo's copper belt

Societe Nationale dElectricite (SNEL), the national electricity company of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has reportedly signed two purchase agreements for a total 200-megawatt solar power with a local unit of Financing Access Congo.

The China-based Green Power Capital investment has teamed up with Brazzaville’s Financing Access Congo to back the solar power project, which will cost an estimated USD 305 million, according to sources.

The solar fields are expected to be installed near the cobalt and copper mining hubs of Likasi and Kolwezi.

Chief Executive Officer at SNEL, Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan, was quoted saying that the projects will provide the residents around the two cities with better power access. This will also ensure a continuous supply of electricity to zonal industries including mining organizations, which are pivotal to the economies of Lualaba and Haut-Katanga provinces.

According to Congo’s national investigation agency, ANAPI, the southwest Katanga region supplies about two-thirds of the world’s total cobalt and houses some of the world’s richest copper mines.

Katanga currently has access to 567 megawatts of installed capacity, far short of its total electricity demand of 900-megawatts. The mining industry alone requires about 600 megawatts, ANAPI stated, while adding that only about 9% of Congolese have access to electricity supply.

For those unaware, Green Power Capital is headed by Song Dongsheng, the ex-chairman of Chinese state-owned engineering and construction company Sinohydro Corp., as per a statement.

Sinohydro has several infrastructure and mining investments in Congo, including the Sicomines cobalt and copper mines in Kolwezi.

Meanwhile, China’s engineering and design service company OTEC Engineering, which is a project developer & solutions provider in sectors of solar power and hydropower will also be working on the project, cited sources close to the matter.

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