Soroti Installation from GET FiT Uganda | Photo: Multiconsult

Implements record breaking utility-scale solar PV tender in Zambia

It was announced on April 5th that the GET FiT Zambia Solar PV Tender has led to record-breaking results in terms of size of award and prices. Multiconsult is proud to have performed as the Tender Agent, having designed and implemented this innovative tender.

11. April 2019

The GET FiT Zambia Solar PV Tender resulted in the award of 120MWAC and achieved an average price of 4.41 USc/kWh. The lowest price achieved was 3.99 USc/kWh, which to Multiconsult’s knowledge is the lowest price achieved to date in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Following a round of prequalification GET-FiT Zambia Solar received bids with an accumulative capacity of 300 MWAC (377 MWp) which corresponds to an annual power generation of 872 GWh. The expected annual power generation of the awarded projects is estimated to be 360 GWh.

Mr. Ryan Anderson, the Multiconsult Tender Agent Team Leader notes that “the implementation of this tender has been a true team effort, employing tender design, technical, and environmental and social (E&S) expertise from Multiconsult. I am proud that we have been able to deliver to our clients, GRZ and KfW, streamlined and multidisciplinary advisory to deliver a truly innovative and successful solar PV tender for the people of Zambia.”

Mr. Marco Freitag, the KfW Program Manager for the tender, complimented the Multiconsult team, noting “Multiconsult has been a key success factor for the GETFiT Zambia program so far. I appreciate the highly committed and very professional approach of the Multiconsult Team, which has proven to be flexible, innovative and able to anticipate future challenges during the course of the tender design and implementation. I am looking forward to continue our fruitful cooperation in view of the upcoming program phases.”

First of kind solar tender
The GET FiT Solar tender was a first-of-a-kind in that the tender has resulted in 6 separate projects by three reputable developers spread throughout the country, and required each developer to identify its own sites.

Bjørn Thorud, Multiconsult’s lead Solar PV expert on the assignment explains “as we did not know the locations of the eventual successful bids, our team has had to work systematically with ZESCO to ensure that these projects could successfully be absorbed by the grid, with either reduced or minimal additional grid losses. This has required both a series of innovations in the tender design as well as advanced power system modeling in collaboration with ZESCO.”

Ensuring a truly competitive outcome while ensuring compliance
Mr. Rene Meyer, Multiconsult’s Tender Design Expert on the assignment explains that “GET FiT Zambia is proud to have attracted some of the most experienced and reputable developers in terms of solar PV and renewables in Africa. Further, it is remarkable that such a competitive price outcome has been achieved in light of the fact that developers will be subject to both IFC E&S Performance Standards, strict time-bound milestones to prevent delays, and implementation of local capacity building programs.”

Mr. Anderson added that “it is also notable that this price outcome has been achieved despite GET FiT not offering any grants, concessional finance, land parcels, or site studies. This result, in our view, represents a truly market competitive outcome and demonstrates the benefits of a well-prepared and implemented tender.”

Contributing to affordable clean power in Zambia
These results make a considerable contribution to Zambia’s efforts to expand access to affordable, reliable and clean power and represents the first phase of their REFiT Strategy which targets 200MW of grid connected renewable energy projects.

Multiconsult’s Zambian Branch Manager and the GET FiT Director, Ms. Judith Raphael, emphasized that “GRZ has expressed a high degree of appreciation for these results. In fact, GRZ decided to award 120MWac, instead of the original target of 100MWac, due to the highly favorable results. Fortunately, the innovative design of the tender allowed for this adjustment.”

A large and important component of our work has been to ensure competence building throughout the process, as both the design and implementation work has been carried out hand-in-hand with our Zambian partners.

Multiconsult will follow these projects to commissioning
In addition to acting as Tender Agent for this tender, Multiconsult is the Implementation Consultant for the broader GET FiT Zambia Program, including the day-to-day management of the Secretariat. In this capacity, Multiconsult will now transition to supervising the progress and compliance of the successful bidders to ensure timely construction of the solar plants.

Ms. Raphael emphasized that “this will however not be a mere supervisory role, as the GET FiT Secretariat will have to take a proactive role in facilitating project agreements and eventual financial close for all projects.” Notably, the solar tender has been implemented according to schedule since launch in August 2018.

Mr. Anderson, also Multiconsult’s Head of Renewable Energy Advisory, emphasized that “our team is proud to be implementing GET FiT in both Uganda and Zambia, as we view these programs, managed by KfW, as among the most successful programs in realizing private investment in renewable energy in Africa. We are fully committed to continued success to the benefit of the Ugandan and Zambian people.”

Renewable Energy Tender Services at Multiconsult
Multiconsult is engaged in running and advising on tender process on range of technologies in Norway and globally. Particularly in the African market, we have unique market insights that allow us to tailor the tender to meet the client’s objectives.

Mr. Anderson notes that “at Multiconsult we see the role as a Tender Agent as a specialized profession where our main role is to reduce risk and create trust between our client and the bidders. A transparent tender process with clearly defined quality requirements ensures a low risk perception among the bidders, while our client can be sure about the quality of the bids. This focus is what has contributed to a competitive outcome in Zambia.”

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