Solar Booming In Zambia

National Economy

The African country of the Republic of Zambia is bordered by Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. The population of Zambia is approximately 19.78 million people[1].

In 2022, Zambia’s economy was ranked 102nd  in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[2]. The country’s economy is based on the export[3] of raw copper, refined copper, gold, copper ore, raw tobacco, and raw sugar.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Zambia signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to an unconditional 25% greenhouse gas emissions cut in 2030, compared to business as usual.

In 2019, Zambia’s Ministry of Energy announced the National Energy Policy, which is designed to promote clean energy technologies, energy efficiency, and increase access to energy services in urban areas of the country.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, only 44.5 % of the people in Zambia had access to electricity[5].  In 2021, Zambia’s power companies used renewable energy (92.2 %), coal (5.0 %), and oil (2.8 %)  to generate electricity in the country[6]. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Zambia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Zambia include:

  • 200 MW Solar Project – In March 2021, U.S. renewable energy company, Ultra Green Corporation commissioned the Serenje Solar Power Station at a site approximately 230 miles northeast of the nation’s capital, Lusaka.
  • 54 MW Solar Project – In March 2019, French power company Neoen commissioned the Bangweulu Solar Power Station at a site approximately 15 miles southeast of Lusaka.
  • 50 MW Solar Tenders – In August 2022, Zambia Electric Supply Corporation launched a tender for photovoltaic solar projects in the Southern, Western, and Luapula provinces in Zambia. The solar projects will have a total capacity of 50 MW.
  • 34 MW Solar Project – In April 2019, Italian utility Enel commissioned the Ngonye Solar Power Station at a site approximately 10 miles southeast of Lusaka.
  • 25 MW Solar ProjectZambian renewable energy company, Africa GreenCo and Serbian solar company, Ilute Solar are continuing work on the Ilute Solar PV project at a site approximately 250 miles southwest of Lusaka. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.


Zambia imports refined petroleum, crude oil, and coal for transportation and power generation. Zambia also imports petroleum-based fertilizers for agriculture. In 2020, Zambia spent[7] U.S. $216 Million for imported refined petroleum, U.S. $205 Million for imported crude oil, and U.S. $170 Million for imported petroleum-based fertilizers.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Zambia has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, which could easily replace the coal and oil fueled power plants that generated only 7.8% of Zambia’s electricity in 2021. Zambia is now developing solar projects to provide electricity to the rural areas of the nation and to eliminate the use of expensive fossil fuels. Solar is booming in Zambia, providing clean, green, and low-cost electricity.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.


[1] Zambia’s Population (2023) –  March 22, 2023,

[2] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2022 – Worldometer

[3] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Zambia

[4] Carbon Brief – “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Pledges”

[5] World Bank, Access To Electricity (% Population) – Zambia

[6] Our World In Data, Zambia: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Zambia Imports

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