Colombo, the capital of West African nation of Mozambique, has announced it will be the first in Africa to install a large-scale solar power project.
Solar energy projects have been growing rapidly in Mozambiques as the world population has grown to more than 1.5 billion, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.
The country has also recently become the world leader in solar energy after signing an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to double its solar capacity.
Colombo, however, has struggled to attract investment due to poor infrastructure, low electricity prices, corruption and high unemployment.
The plan was announced on Monday after President Fotojo Dias announced he would introduce a solar tax in the country.
“It will increase electricity prices by 2.5 percent per month.
That will be paid in the form of electricity credits, so it’s not a tax,” he said.”
We have a high cost of electricity, so we have to make sure we make our investments here in a sustainable way.”
Solar panels will be installed on a 1.6 hectare site at the city’s new Solar Energy Power Park.
The first phase will cost around €30 million ($32 million) to install, with the final phase expected to cost up to €80 million ($88 million).
In a statement, Colombo said the project would be one of several to be installed in the capital over the next year.
“The aim is to build up solar energy capacity at an affordable price,” the president said.
“This will not only be a new energy source, but will also help improve the quality of life for our citizens and the environment as well.”
Solar energy has been growing in Mozambe for decades and the project will be a demonstration project in the city.
It is estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 Mozambicans have access to a home with solar panels.
“Solar energy provides a good source of energy, and is affordable for Mozambican households,” Colombo Governor Yoko Tzembi said.
The project is expected to generate an estimated 1,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2020.