A Saudi Arabian firm, ACWA Power, has won a USD 300 million worth solar Public Venture (PV) contract, becoming the first private company to win a mega project under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), after the PPP Board of Ethiopia approved the bid summited by the firm.

 The board approved the first round of the solar project to ACWA Power for the Gad and Dicheto Solar PV projects, in a meeting held on Wednesday. The company was one of 12 companies that summited their respective Request for Proposal (RFP) last February.

The site, which is located in Somali and Afar regional states, respectively, will generate a total of 250MW.

Out of the 12 shortlisted companies, seven of them have visited the site and attended a bidder’s conference.

Consequently, five have submitted their proposals and out of the five bidders, the Saudi Arabia-based company has qualified for the technical and financial requirements of the bid.

According to information obtained from the Minister of Finance (MoF), the Company has offered 2.5260 US cents/kwh for both sites. Currently, this solar power purchase tariff is the lowest in Africa and one of the lowest tariffs globally.

ACWA is a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants. It currently has a presence in 10 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Africa and in South-Eastern Asia.

Its energy portfolio includes efficient combined cycle power plants, solar (Photovoltaic PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), geothermal, wind, waste-to-energy (WtE) and coal pollution mitigation.

With an investment value in excess of USD 33 billion, ACWA can generate more than 22 GW of power and produce 2.5 million m3/day of desalinated water to be delivered on a bulk basis to state utilities and industrial majors in a long-term off-take contracts under a Public-Private-Partnership, Concession and Utility Services Outsourcing models (BOO/BOOT).

It is to be recalled that opening the countries market was one of the key reform areas that PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has pledged to change when he came into power in 2018. Similarly, the government announced that it will soon open its doors for key state-owned firms including Telecom, Railway, and sugar projects as well as its flag carrier Ethiopian.