The Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA) has launched a call for expressions of interest for the construction of an 850-kW solar photovoltaic power plant at International Airport III in the form of public-private partnership (PPP); BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer).

The plant will be connected to an 11 kV underground cable distribution system and will be at International Airport III, in the Lubombo region east of Eswatini. The country is inviting Independent Power Producer(s) (IPP) to submit their proposals on or before December 22nd 2020.

The selected IPP will sign a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority. The company will be responsible for financing, building, owning and operating the solar power plant.

According to the tender, at least 15% of the total value of the labour during the construction of the plant will have to come from Eswatini; as well as 10% of the materials used in the solar project.

The electricity generated from the solar power plant is to reduce the dependence of International Airport III on the grid of the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC), which is struggling to meet the demand for electricity in Eswatini. The state-owned company has an installed capacity of 60.4 MW produced from four power plants, representing 17% of the total electricity consumed by its industries and the 1.4 million inhabitants of Eswatini.

Also, an 80 MW solar and biomass project is under development in Eswatini and would help reduce the kingdom’s dependence on electricity imports from South Africa. The solar power plants, which will have a capacity of 40 MWp, should be commissioned before the end of 2020. The biomass plants (40 MW) will be operational in 2021.