JCM Power, together with Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, InfraCo Africa, is pleased to announce that the 20MW Golomoti Solar PV and Battery Energy Storage project in the Dedza district of Malawi has successfully entered Commercial Operations.
The project includes a 28.5MWp solar array coupled with a 5MW/10MWh lithium-ion battery, and will provide 20MW of much needed power to Malawi’s grid. Golomoti is JCM Power’s second renewable energy project in Malawi after the 60MW Salima Solar project entered operations in October 2021. Construction took under 12 months from mobilising to site in March 2021 and reaching commercial operations on 1 March 2022.
The project is the first utility-scale grid-connected hybrid solar and battery energy storage project in sub-Saharan Africa. This marks a milestone for the region as energy storage serves as an important tool to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy into utility’s networks. The inclusion of the battery system means the project will reduce variation in output during cloud cover, dispatch energy in the evening peak, and support controlling voltage and frequency of the grid.
Through construction, the project created over 550 jobs, of which 85% were local jobs for Malawians. Environmentally, the project has negligible impact, specifically with the power plant being designed to preserve ancient baobabs which were on the site.
Christian Wray, CEO of JCM Power, noted that “We are proud to announce the completion of our second solar project in Malawi which is a pioneering solar and energy storage project that will serve as a catalyst for many similar projects in the future. In addition to developing and financing the project, JCM Power managed the execution of the works and, despite numerous challenges due to impacts from the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are pleased with the speed of project execution, the positive economic benefits delivered to Malawi and all while keeping our employees and communities safe.”
The project is committed to having a positive long term impact and, in partnership with the community, has developed a Social and Economic Development Plan focusing on Women Empowerment, Health and Sanitation, and Subsistence-based Sustainable Livelihoods. The project has already delivered numerous impact projects related to clean water and education.
InfraCo Africa’s Head of Asset Management, Connor Dawson said: “Following the successful commissioning of its sister project, Salima Solar, we are delighted to see Golomoti delivering an additional 20MW of clean energy for Malawi’s consumers. Golomoti’s delivery during a global pandemic is testament to the determination of our own team and that of our colleagues at JCM Power to both keep workers safe from the virus itself, and to overcome supply chain challenges and delays.” He continued, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Innovate UK for their support for the battery energy storage system, a key element of the plant’s design and one which will ensure that reliable power is available for Malawi’s homes and businesses for many years to come.”
The project is made possible through a long list of partners, including USAID who provided critical development funding, Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst program who provided grant funding for the batteries, and furthermore by IFU who provided JCM with debt financing.
Based on the projects commitment to women employment and its gender inclusive policies, the project is eligible to be a 2XChallenge investment. JCM Power Corporation is qualified as a 2XChallenge company and these initiatives further demonstrate JCM’s commitment.