Disappointed by hydroelectric power reduced by drought, Zambia is turning to the sun. The landlocked country plans to build two solar projects that will charge the lowest tariffs in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Zambian Industrial Development Corporation.
Diversifying Zambia’s renewable energy sources has become more urgent as the country’s reliance on hydropower has exposed cracks in the system. Lake Kariba was in need in renovation before drought conditions brought on by the El Niño weather phenomenon dried up the reservoir and Zambia’s electricity supply. Zambia’s historic failure to expand the hydropower system or invest in other renewable energy sources has exacerbated the current electricity shortage.
Zambia needs between 560MW to 1000MW of power that it can’t supply. The national power utility ZESCO is projected to lose $277 million in revenue as a result of the power deficit, according to theLusaka Times. In recent months, Zambians have literally found themselves in the dark with scheduled and unscheduled power cuts. Despite signs of recovery, the power cuts have already dimmed Zambia’s growth prospects.