Zambia: mini-grids


Zambia is facing significant energy challenges due to the lack of extensive national grid coverage. The biggest challenge is to be faced in rural areas, where only 3% of the population is connected to the national power grid and where the supply of power is predominately serviced by diesel generators.


In order to address this, the Government of Zambia in collaboration with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UNIDO, UNEP, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO), the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and the International Centre on Small Hydro Power (ICSHP) in China have developed a project targeting renewable energy for isolated mini-grids.

UNIDO is executing the project and it has a total budget of USD 7.506 million with a GEF grant amounting to USD 2.950 million and co-financing to the tune of USD 4.556 million. The project will install a biomass gasifier based power plant (1MW capacity) for electricity generation at Kaputa, a small hydropower station (1 MW capacity) at Shimunenga linking with productive uses and a solar energy mini-grid to introduce solar lanterns for fishing activities at night. The project will also contribute to a legal, institutional and policy framework that provides a favourable environment for the commercial deployment of renewable energy based mini-grids in rural areas of Zambia. This is expected to sustain further expansion of the market of these technologies.

Expected results

  • Three rural mini grids based on solar, biomass and small hydro power technologies set up
  • National manufacturing capacity based on renewable energy technologies established
  • A national financial mechanism supported
  • Policy planning mechanisms and institutional set up to promote public private partnerships in the renewable energy sector strengthened

For more information, please email:

Diego Masera
Project Manager
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