Biden Administration Selects 5 GW Mega Solar Project in Africa

US President Biden recently hosted a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate to catalyse global ambition to address the climate crisis. The Summit convened world leaders to galvanize efforts to keep the vital goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. The Biden-Harris Administration selected the Mega Solar Project as an outcome of the Summit.

Mega Solar is a partnership between the Governments of Namibia and Botswana, and others, which is expected to generate up to five gigawatts of solar power. The project is a part of USAID’s Power Africa Initiative, which is committed to assisting the southern Africa region transform from reliance on fossil fuels to clean energy, enabling a path to decarbonization. A memorandum of intent was signed between all partners this month.

“I am very excited that Namibia, Botswana, the United States, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the African Development Bank have taken important steps forward together on the Mega Solar Project,” U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson said. “Mega Solar will directly advance a goal set forth in His Excellency President Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan II for Namibia by achieving a secure and cost-effective energy supply.”

“When fully realized, Mega Solar could be one of the largest solar parks in the world, generating 3,000 – 5,000 megawatts of energy,” Ambassador Johnson added. “This could transform Namibia and Botswana into two of the globe’s most significant producers of solar power, enough to begin exporting renewable energy to the southern Africa region. Beyond the economic potential, Mega Solar will help decarbonize southern Africa and will make a significant contribution to global efforts on climate change.”

The projects’ initial goal is to provide additional power from solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal technologies to meet local demand, an ultimate benefit of the collaborative efforts of the Mega Solar partners in strengthening the institutional and technical capacity as well as legal and regulatory frameworks of the focal countries.

Mark Carrato, USAID’s Coordinator of Power Africa, said, “Simply put, this milestone agreement, with Botswana and Namibia demonstrating unprecedented leadership and collaboration, moves Mega Solar from the concept phase to the action phase.”