…for the construction of Lavumisa Solar PV Power Station

EEC Board Chairman S'thofeni Ginindza (c) flanked by (l-r) CONCO's MD Andreas Richelmann, Director of Innovation and Sustainability David van Zyl, CFO Graham Commins, EEC MD Meshack Kunene, Company Secretary Velaphi Dlamini and GM Research and Development Ernest Mkhonta during the contract signing ceremony.

The Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) has signed a 221 Million Emalangeni deal with South African-based company CONCO, Consolidated Infrastructure Group Limited, for the construction of the much anticipated Lavumisa 10MW Solar power Station.

A contract was signed on Thursday the 28th June, 2019 between the two companies at EEC’s Eluvatsini House (Head Office) by EEC Managing Director Meshack Kunene and CONCO’s Director of Innovation and Sustainability David van Zyl. This was in the presence of EEC Board Chairman S’thofeni Ginindza and other EEC and CONCO executives. The signing ceremony essentially marks the beginning of this multi-million land mark project.

EEC MD Meshack Kunene and CONCO's Director of Innovation and Sustainability David van Zyl during the contract signing ceremony.

CONCO has been awarded the contract to Engineer, Procure and Construct (EPC) a 10MW Solar PV Plant in Lavumisa, Qomintaba as part of the company’s strategy to increase internal generation mix, thus improving sustainability.

The CONCO Group is Africa’s largest power infrastructure service provider with three decades of Africa-wide experience in transmission, distribution and power infrastructure development. They provide high voltage turnkey solutions of unsurpassed design/engineering and quality, to a multitude of customers across the African continent and the Middle East. EEC has enjoyed a sound relationship with the company in other projects over the past decade.

EEC’s Meshack Kunene stated that the signing ceremony was a remarkable achievement by the Company in this watershed project since it was initiated in 2017.

“This is an important project for Eswatini and EEC. The presence of our Board Chairperson is an indication of the importance of this ceremony. The project will be the first Solar PV plant to be owned by the country and operated by EEC at this magnitude,” Kunene said.

Project timeline

He stated that the construction site will soon be handed over to CONCO who is expected to complete construction by early 2020 over a nine-month period. Kunene detailed that the Solar project will be unique in that it will feature some of the latest engineering technology.

Kunene indicated that this project will also show Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that is possible and feasible to do solar projects in the country.

CONCO’s David van Zyl expressed his appreciation to EEC for the confidence they have shown on their services, promising that they will deliver a quality product as per their reputation.

“We will put in the best equipment in this project and EEC will get leading technology in solar PV. This is going to be one of the few projects with such leading technology,” Van Zyl said.

According to Kunene, the life expectancy of this project will be 30 years.

Power Station to Feature Latest Solar Technology

Eswatini will benefit from the latest technology in Solar PV power to be installed in the Lavumisa 10 MW solar power station constructed by the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC).

The project contractors, CONCO, Consolidated Infrastructure Group Limited have detailed that the Lavumisa project will feature bifacial modules, which are able to produce energy on both sides of the module by capturing irradiance directly from the sun and indirect irradiance reflected from the ground.

The modules are made from glass on glass frameless technology which has better cooling properties and lightning performance. These modules are mounted on a single axis tracking system to further optimise the energy production of the plant. The plant will also have a tracking system to track the sun’s movement with the aim of maximising the production of energy.

CONCO’s Director of Innovation and Sustainability David van Zyl stated that EEC will be one of the first companies in the region to benefit from this latest energy solution technology.

Generally, solar panels are stationary and do not follow the movement of the sun. Here is a solar tracker system that tracks the sun’s movement across the sky and tries to maintain the solar panel perpendicular to the sun’s rays, ensuring that the maximum amount of sunlight is incident on the panel throughout the day. The solar tracking system starts following the sun right from sunrise, throughout the day till evening, and starts all over again from sunrise the next day.

Part of the scope for the Lavumisa Solar PV Power Station:

  • To minimise the outage of the plant, string inverters will be used. Maintenance is also easier when string inverters are used.
  • A new 66/22 kV substation will be constructed at the site.
  • A new 66 kV overhead line will be constructed to connect the 66/22 kV Facility Substation to the 66/11 kV Maloma substation.
  • The O&M building at Lavumisa will be connected to the facility substation and will be equipped with a meeting room, storage space, a kitchen and ablution facilities. A separate entrance would be provided for the substation as per regulations.

EEC Board Chairman fully behind Solar Project

Chairman of the Board of the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) S’thofeni Ginindza is fully behind the company’s latest development in the construction of the Lavumisa Solar PV Power Station.

“We have always wanted to own a solar power plant rather than relying on external parties. This is exciting for us. The EEC Board, Ministry for Natural Resources and Energy and even government will be very excited at an activity of this nature,” Ginindza said.

He stated that such a project will go a long way in reducing the dependency from neighbouring countries for the supply of electricity.

“I am very much inspired by the technology that has been proposed for installation in this project. We are so much looking forward to it,” Ginindza said.

EEC has considered renewable energy using Solar PV as a viable option to increase its generation mix and help combat the impacts of greenhouse gases emitted by decreasing fossil fuel consumption for power generation.

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