World Bank guarantees US$24m financing for Malawi solar-plus-storage project

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The World Bank has provided guarantees for US$24 million of equity and shareholder loan investments into a 20MW solar-plus-storage project in Malawi.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), an arm of the Bank, has issued the guarantees to JCM Golomoti UK Limited for equity and shareholder loan investments into Golomoti JCM Solar Corporation Limited for the development, construction and operation of a new 20MW solar photovoltaic plant in Malawi.

The project recently entered commercial operations, as reported by Energy-Storage.news, and is the first grid-connected utility-scale co-located project in sub-Saharan Africa and the first utility-scale battery in Malawi. It pairs a 28.5MWp solar farm with a 5MW/10MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS), supplied by Sungrow, although it is described by the companies involved as a 20MW project.

The guarantees will extend over 20 years and protect JCM against the risks of transfer restriction and breach of contract. MIGA says it provides guarantees to help investors protect investments against political and non-commercial risks in developing countries.

“MIGA is pleased to support ongoing electrification in Malawi and the first deployment of solar battery storage technology in the country,” said Hiroshi Matano, executive vice president of MIGA. “By helping to diversify the energy supply, the new plant contributes to Malawi’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.”

The country in southeastern Africa has among the lowest electricity access rates in the world at just 11.2% in 2019 according to the World Bank, with plans to increase this to 30% by 2030. It does have a high renewable generation proportion of 75%, mainly from hydropower in Lake Malawi, but this makes it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

As well as smoothing out the intermittency of the solar PV plant, the BESS will help manage peak loads on the grid reducing the requirements of fossil fuel generating plants.

JCM Golomati UK Limited’s parent company JCM Power is an existing MIGA client, having obtained guarantee coverage for their investments in the 60MW Salima solar power project in Malawi in 2019.

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