The Government of Zambia signed agreements for a second mandate with Scaling Solar, the World Bank Group program that helps developing countries procure low cost, privately financed, solar power.

This is Zambia's second engagement with Scaling Solar. It follows auctions held in May 2016 for two solar PV plants of up to 50 megawatts (MW) each.

The winning developers and relevant Zambian government agencies are in the process of concluding their agreements, which are expected to be finalized in May 2017. The World Bank Group's Board approved a package of financing and guarantees for one of the two winning bidders and will review the same for the second winner in the coming weeks.

The new Scaling Solar mandate will begin with an initial procurement round of up to 200 MW of utility-scale energy, with subsequent rounds to follow with a goal of developing 500 MW of renewable power. The Request for Qualifications for the second round are expected to be released in late March 2017.

Only about a fifth of the population in Zambia has access to electricity and the country often experiences up to 10 hours a day of load shedding or blackouts. The Scaling Solar mandate will be led by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Zambia, in coordination with the Ministry of Energy. It is expected to comprise the structuring and tendering of up to four solar plant projects of 50 MW to 100 MW each. Each plant will be developed by different private sector sponsors through a competitive bidding process.

The two rounds in Zambia, along with Scaling Solar projects currently in progress in Senegal, Madagascar, and Ethiopia, will combine to develop and tender over 1.2 gigawatts of solar power, bringing generation capacity to countries working to meet their power needs. The program is also expanding to other regions, with countries in Asia and the Middle East in discussions to join Scaling Solar.

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