Description of the project 4 PV-Plants for Mwanza

By installing and successfully operating four photovoltaic (PV) power plants on municipal buildings that will deliver electricity for consumption by the owners, the relevant target groups in Mwanza will be made aware of the technical and economic potential of solar power generation. In the medium term they will then be able to build PV-based solar power plants on a large scale. Furthermore, in the municipal buildings the power required from the public grid will be reduced, and overall expenditure on electric power will be lowered in the medium term.

1.     Description of the project

The initial situation and needs
The electric power supply in the city of Mwanza, and in Tanzania as a whole, is characterised by two main problems: (1) a basic shortage, which leads to regular outages in large parts of the city and the country, with all the negative consequences this entails for the local economy. This was also stated in the National Environmental Action Plan (The Vice President’s Office – Division of Environment) published in October 2006: ‘It is estimated that the number of people who have access to electricity is nearly 10% of the entire Tanzanian population. This is attributed to (…) unreliable power supply (…)’ (NEAP, p. 85). (2) A significant proportion of energy production is achieved using fossil fuels, which entails corresponding CO2 emissions (43% of the power produced by the parastatal organisation the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company [TANESCO], plus an unspecified proportion of electricity bought-in/imported, making up a total of 46% of the electricity consumed [source:, Generation, accessed on 29.10.2013]). Tanzania’s high solar insolation, in conjunction with its relatively favourable temperature profile, provides the country with a low-carbon, environmentally-friendly resource for electricity generation. Given the current decline in the price of photovoltaic (PV) systems, this resource be developed profitably. The main obstacle here is the absence of expertise and experience regarding potential PV applications. The project aims to create the necessary awareness among the population, and especially among policymakers and large investors. The project plans to build four municipal PV plants, which will also be used as showpieces for demonstration purposes. By doing so it aims to support Tanzania’s overall strategy for photovoltaic power: ‘Generally, Tanzania is in the process of implementing World Solar Programme (WSP) 1996-2005, with the main focus on village solar electrification’ (NEAP, p. 86).

During a field visit held from 13-17 May 2013 as part of the municipal climate partnership, it was reaffirmed that Tanzania in general, and Mwanza in particular, suffer bottlenecks with regard to electric power supply. This results in regular and prolonged power outages, sometimes affecting large areas – particularly during the dry season.
These energy supply difficulties are caused by insufficient development of power generation capacities, in conjunction with a focus on hydropower plants, production at which is highly seasonal. According to TANESCO, the parastatal electricity company that has a quasi monopoly on electricity generation, a total of 5760 GWh of electric power were consumed in 2012. Of this, 54% was produced by TANESCO itself, and 46% was bought-in from independent power producers (IPPs) or imported. Of the power generated by TANESCO, 57% came from hydropower, with the remainder coming chiefly from thermal power plants (mainly diesel and gas – source:, Home   About us   Core Functions   Generation, accessed on 29.10.2013).

This means two things. First of all, electricity production in Tanzania is highly dependent on seasonal factors (hydropower plants only generate sufficient energy during the rainy season). Secondly, it is also dependent to a significant degree on IPPs and foreign providers. One major resource that has so far been largely unexploited – and one which would also be low carbon and environmentally friendly – is photovoltaics. Given the high level of solar insolation in Tanzania, combined with the sharp drop in investment costs for photovoltaic power plants over the last few years, this has now become an attractive alternative means of generating power.

The methodology of the project involves demonstrating to the relevant local actors (see target group) the potential technical and economic applications of PV plants for producing electricity and mitigating climate change, by showing them concrete examples. Rudimentary, wholly unsystematic experience with micro power plants (1-2 modules) for private households is available locally; however, there is a lack of awareness of the potential for large-scale, economically viable use of this technology. Without showpieces for demonstration in the local setting, it will be difficult to create such awareness that will lead to a willingness among local investors to actually invest. Consequently, the four demonstration plants will be designed not only to generate low-carbon electricity by reducing local CO2 emissions, but also to demonstrate to the target groups the functionality and economic viability of PV plants. Once local investors have seen this ‘with their own eyes’, it is hoped that they will be persuaded to invest in medium-sized and large plants in the future. The locations for the plants were selected not only on the grounds of their technical suitability, but also with regard to PR considerations and practical impact (radio station, hospital, and schools and colleges in order to appeal to young people).

Target groups of the project
The objective of the project (see also overall objective) is to demonstrate the potential of solar power production, in order to win over investors for large-scale solar power plants in the medium to long term, and enable solar power to account for a significant proportion of all power in Tanzania. The target groups envisaged are:
1.    TANESCO: TANESCO could build solar power plants of its own and feed the electricity generated into its own grid directly. By doing so TANESCO would increase the proportion of power that it generates itself, and become less dependent on seasonal fluctuations (hydropower) and IPPs/foreign providers.
2.    IPPs. These independent power producers could build solar power plants of their own, and through a power purchase agreement (PPA) sell the electricity produced either directly to TANESCO or to other customers.
3.    Bulk consumers. These could build plants to generate power for their own consumption, which they would feed directly into their own power supply system. This solar power would thus be consumed directly, reducing the amount of electricity being drawn from the grid. At a meeting held in Mwanza in May 2013, TANESCO indicated that it was in favour of these projects because they would help stabilise the grid and make the power supply more reliable.
Impact: The project will benefit the entire population, as solar power production will help provide them with a more reliable power supply and more stable prices, as well as relieving the burden on natural resources and the climate (services of general interest).

We should also point out that Mwanza, the second-largest city in Tanzania, is in constant dialogue both with representatives from other countries (Tanzania shares a border region with Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi), and with policymakers and administrators within Tanzania. This guarantees that lessons learned will be transferred.
Communication with all target groups will be ensured through a website and appropriate events. All target groups will also be able to visit the plants, and see the functionality and economic viability of these plants for themselves.

Involvement of other donors
The Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) is pursuing similar goals in the region. This organisation is already in touch with the city of Mwanza and the city of Würzburg. The project hopes to involve TAREA in joint public relations work, as well as in the local procurement of technical and administrative services. This should boost the local economy and increase the local population’s identification with the solar plants. First meetings to discuss cooperation were held in May.

Preparation of the project
The recognition of the need to act and the initial thinking behind the project are the outcome of the strategic and systematic preparation of the programme of action within the climate partnership. This process of preparation was founded on a baseline review and a SWOT analysis:
‘In Mwanza today, longer periods of drought and increased flooding caused by extreme weather events are already evident, and electricity supply bottlenecks are an everyday occurrence. To stabilise the energy supply, most of which is obtained from hydropower, and make it sustainable, the most important part of the programme of action is the development of renewable energy and autonomous power generation structures. We have therefore developed several measures designed to operationalise concrete projects in the field of photovoltaic energy and the thermal use of solar energy in Mwanza.’ (Excerpt from the final documentation on the pilot phase of the project ‘50 Municipal Climate Partnerships by 2015’; Engagement Global gGmbH (eds.) 2013: Dialog Global No. 29, Bonn, p. 53)

Overall objective
The project will make a contribution toward sustainable energy supply in the city of Mwanza, and will serve as a showpiece demonstrating the potential for stable and competitive power supply based on low-carbon energy production. 

Project objective(s)
By installing and successfully operating four photovoltaic (PV) power plants on municipal buildings that will deliver electricity for consumption by the owners, the relevant target groups in Mwanza will be made aware of the technical and economic potential of solar power generation. In the medium term they will then be able to build PV-based solar power plants on a large scale. Furthermore, in the municipal buildings the power required from the public grid will be reduced, and overall expenditure on electric power will be lowered in the medium term.

Sub-objectives    Measurable indicators of results
Increase the proportion of renewable energy delivered by PV systems.

A share of the energy consumed by the four municipal buildings will be covered by the PV systems; subject to approval by TANESCO, any surplus power will be fed into the public grid. 
Specially installed climate and power plant measuring stations will record weather data and electric output data to assess output for future PV systems and thus increase their investment security.    Recorded values for global radiation, diffuse radiation, ambient temperature, wind strength, wind direction, with resolution accurate at least to the minute.
Operation and maintenance of the systems is ensured through local expertise.    Training of a local technical expert in operation and maintenance, ensuring swift repair of possible malfunctions.

Awareness of the potential use of solar power for stable and low-carbon power supply is increased within the population and among investors.

A website yet to be created will publish current data (at least: power generated by PV systems, CO2 savings, proportion of electricity consumption covered by PV systems, costs saved by reduced withdrawals of power from the grid) plus background information on PV technology and its economic efficiency. Public information events will be conducted. The success of the measures will be measured by recording specific enquiries made to the project.

Sub-objective 1:

The four PV systems are installed (as evidenced by photos and technical planning documents) and are generating power (at least 1,500 kWh per kWp installed plant capacity per annum).

Sub-objective 2:

Measured data (power consumed, power generated, weather data) are being recorded, compared and stored by the Office for Environmental Protection of the City of Mwanza for purposes of PR work, monitoring of results and as a basis for planning future plants.

Sub-objective 3:

A contract for operation and maintenance is awarded to a qualified expert. On-site training in maintenance and operation of the systems has been conducted with the qualified expert. The supply of special spare parts is guaranteed by delivering corresponding spares at installation. Plant availability is at least 95% of the theoretically possible uptime.

Sub-objective 4:

Website is online, accessible and up-to-date. A public relations officer is officially appointed and given the necessary competences. Specific enquiries have been received for a total of at least 500 additional kWp of solar power.
Description of the planned results in relation to the overarching/project objective
By using solar power (photovoltaic energy) to cover a significant proportion of the electricity consumed by four municipal buildings, the project will contribute toward local public services of general interest (energy security will be achieved through autonomous power plants) and toward climate change mitigation (through the substitution of fossil fuels). The effective communication of public information on current production and consumption might attract investors for further plants, and create interest, transparency and trust in the safe and secure production of power from renewable sources (thus contributing towards the dissemination of renewable energy). Interest will be generated among the aforementioned target groups (TANESCO, IPPs, investors in autonomous systems) by providing tours of the plants, by transparently publishing all the relevant technical and economic data on the plants, and by providing measured weather values as a basis for planning future projects. Appropriate technical advice will then be provided to persuade the target groups to invest in PV power plants.

Measures (activities) to achieve the objectives

Sub-objective 1: Increase the share of renewable energy by using PV systems

1.1    Invite bids for the project (specific inputs: plan, supply, install and commission the plants and measuring stations, prepare and activate the website, and professionally train the public relations officer and the operation and maintenance personnel), and select an appropriate bidder.

1.2    Install, commission and test a 7 kWp plant at the City Radio Mwanza building.

1.3    Install, commission and test a 40 kWp plant at Nyamagana Hospital.

1.4    Install, commission and test a 15 kWp plant at Mkolani Secondary School.

1.5    Install, commission and test a 50 kWp plant at Butimba Teachers Training College.

1.6    Install a control system on each of the plants to compare consumption and generation, and in case of overproduction either reduce the output of the plants or – subject to approval by TANESCO – feed surpluses into the public grid .

Sub-objective 2: Record climate and plant data

2.1    Set up a monitoring system to measure the output of the plants and the electricity saved.

2.2    Install the weather and climate station.

2.3    Continuously measure the output of the plants (PV electricity production).

2.4    Continuously measure the electricity saved by substituting PV electricity generated at the buildings.

Sub-objective 3: Contract local operation and maintenance services

3.1    Invite bids for an operation and maintenance contract.

3.2.    To secure operation and maintenance, select and train the appropriate local bidder.

3.3    Conclude an operation and maintenance agreement that guarantees knowledge transfer, should the operation and maintenance specialist become unavailable.

Sub-objective 4: Communicate information to the population and future investors

4.1    Create a website for publication of the relevant economic, technical and climate-related data by the City of Mwanza in cooperation with the plant operator.

4.2    Appoint a local public relations officer to maintain the website and perform PR work.

4.3    Public relations officer will conduct appropriate PR events, as well as visits to the plants, and advise potential investors.

4.4    City Radio Mwanza and other media will continuously communicate information to the population, supported by the public relations officer.

How will the municipal expertise of the project executing agency and the project partner be integrated into the implementation of the project?

Project executing agency:
Due to the long-standing twinning arrangement the City of Würzburg already has links to the local administration in Mwanza, and the two twin cities have established a close relationship built on mutual trust. Furthermore, the non-governmental organisation MWANZA e. V. also possesses a wealth of experience with regard to the partnership with Mwanza, as well as a network of actors with ideas for measures that would benefit this project.

The City of Würzburg with its dedicated departments, and local non-governmental organisations, can contribute specialist expertise for the following tasks:
–    human capacity development in Mwanza (public, industrial and private sector) with regard to intercultural, administrative and technical skills
–    project management
–    establishing and managing key contacts in Würzburg and Mwanza 
–    establishing and managing contacts with investors 
–    awareness-raising and participation in the sociocultural sector in Würzburg und Mwanza
–    M.W.A.N.Z.A. e. V. as the main institution for liaison with local non-governmental organisations in Mwanza
–    technical information and support from the University of Würzburg and the regional sustainability network MAINENA

Project partner:
The City of Mwanza with its dedicated departments can contribute specialist expertise for the following tasks: 
•    local project management in Mwanza
•    management of liaison with Würzburg and local actors in Mwanza
•    liaison with TANESCO and oversight of operation of the plants
•    management of the website.

The City of Mwanza will second qualified and dedicated personnel who will perform various roles and tasks during the planning and implementation phases. Since the project is located in Mwanza the work of the seconded personnel will be updated daily, and they will support project monitoring.