Last edited: April 2019
There are several energy policies and regulations in place in Zambia. Some are broad and the implementation of others is specific for the solar energy market. Different institutions are in place to keep the sector and its regulations running. The goal of these regulations is to improve the performance of the energy (including electricity) market. Therefore, involvement in the (solar) energy sector requires licensing.
The implementation of regulations in the energy sector started in 1994, with the first National Energy Policy. This was to promote optimal supply and utilization of energy.
Energy policies and institutions
National Energy Policy
The last energy policy is in place since 2008 and established two new institutions for the energy sector in Zambia. Specifically, the Energy Regulation Board of Zambia (ERB) and the Office for Promoting Private Power Investments. The policy intends to let the energy sector drive the economic growth in the country, and simultaneously reduce poverty. It guides policy makers, decision makers and development managers. One part of the policy is dedicated to renewable energy, with a focus on:
- Availability to data and information market demand, resource assessment and applicability of renewable energy technology
- Financial and fiscal instruments to stimulate the implementation of renewable energy
- Promotion, enhancements and development of renewable energy
- The creation of public awareness.
Energy Regulation Act and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB)
This act arranged the establishment for the formerly mentioned Energy Regulation Board (ERB). To list, it defines its functions and powers and it provides them with the licensing of undertakings for the production of energy or the production or handling of certain fuels. Some of these functions are important for the solar sector and its regulations, namely the establishment of feed-in tariffs, the promotion of new grid connections and the design of standards on quality, safety and reliability of energy. Furthermore, in 2017 the ERB also imposed specific solar regulations, mainly targeting solar components.
Office for Promoting Private Power Investment (OPPPI) and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO)
The aforementioned OPPPI promotes the private investment in the generation and transmission of electricity. Their main interaction is with ZESCO. This formerly state owned company is now privately owned after liberalization in 1995. The high tariff subsidies for ZESCO give them a monopoly, since others cannot enter the market.
Rural Electrification Act, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP)
This act established a special authority, the Rural Electrification Authority, with the responsibility to carry out all public activities in connection with rural electrification and to implement the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP). Specifically, the REMP aims to electrify rural growth centers that now lack access to electricity. The target for 2030 is to get the electricity access in rural areas up to 51%.
Every company in Zambia, also a foreign company that operates in Zambia, has to be registered with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency, the Zambia Revenue Authority, Pay as You Earn and Income Tax. Each month, the Zambia Revenue Authority expects the obligatory filing from all registered companies.
Licensing for solar energy systems
There is a special license for manufacturing or installing solar energy systems in Zambia. Since 2017, the licensing process became more rigorous in the solar sector, mainly for the importation of products. For companies who want to import solar products, a special license process exists to ensure quality. This process gives companies a special license for the engagement in importing solar products. Make sure this license is present, since it is required for ever shipment into the country.