This page contains a summary of the opportunity lost due to the Government of Lesotho not proceeding with the Frazer Solar project.
The reason the project could not proceed was solely due to the then-Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro who refused to comply with directions from the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to co-operate and conclude the financing component of the project.
It is Frazer Solar's view that Moeketsi Majoro refused to co-operate with the Prime Minister due to factionalism and rivalry and that Majoro preferred a Chinese funded project instead.
Lesotho's Missing Maloti Millions
The Frazer Solar project would have reduced electricity imports by 200 million kWh per year starting from 1 January 2021. Imported electricity costs 10 times as much as locally generated from Muela, and government policy is to reduce it.
The savings forgone can be readily calculated.
As at the end of November 2022, the lost savings have already amounted to M462 million maloti (US$26 million).
For each month that passes another M20 million in savings is lost.
Majoro Stops Households Receiving Free Solar Lanterns
Frazer Solar planned to distribute 350,000 solar lanterns – with built-in mobile phone chargers – to all the houses in Lesotho without electricity.
This would have completely eliminated the use of paraffin and candles as a light source for the entire country, a World Bank objective.
1.2 million Basotho – 60% of the population – would have benefitted free of charge.
As the project did not proceed, no-one could get access to this life-changing technology.
Majoro Stops Civil Servants Getting Solar Geysers
Frazer Solar's project would have given civil servants the opportunity to acquire high quality, German made, solar water heaters (solar geysers) for their homes. This would have benefited up to 40,000 homeowners.
Solar geysers reduce electricity usage and save significant sums of money to heat water. Thus partially insulating civil servants from the rising cost of living.
Despite strong personal endorsement from the Minister of Public Service and the supply agreement being signed, the project did not proceed, and as a result no civil servants were able to benefit from this opportunity.
Majoro Stops Textile Factories Getting Solar Power
Frazer Solar's project would have installed up to 20 MW of solar power onto government buildings across Lesotho. This would have saved electricity costs for government ministries including the LNDC factory shells used by textile companies.
The textile sector lobbies the Energy Regulator every year to minimise electricity price increases as this is a risk to employment. The textile sector is a large employer of Basotho, mostly females, and has shrunk from 50,000 to less than 40,000 over the past two years.
Controlling electricity costs is a vital tool to assist textile factories remain competitive and maintain employment. Installing solar power onto the factory shells is commercially viable and sensible. However, this opportunity to reduce costs and save jobs was lost due to Moeketsi Majoro.
Majoro Stops Rollout of Energy Efficient Lights
Frazer Solar's project would have seen up to 1 million energy efficient lights installed in Lesotho. This would have saved costs and improved safety and security. Replacing energy inefficient lights is a well known and proven method to quickly, easily and permanently reduce electricity usage.
South Africa distributed some 75 million energy efficient lights to reduce electricity demand, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Frazer Solar's project in Lesotho to distribute lights was emulating South Africa.
The reason why Lesotho did not get this opportunity was due to Moeketsti Majoro's non cooperation. In fact, Moeketsi Majoro 'died of laughter' when Frazer Solar pointed out the plight of police stations that couldn't afford to pay for electricity so had to resort to using candles.
Majoro Stops Remote Communities from Obtaining Power
Frazer Solar's project would have seen rural and remote communities that aren't connected to the main LEC grid, such as Semonkong, have diesel generators replaced by solar power and batteries. This would have provided such communities with clean, green, low cost electricity for 24 hours per day.
With up to 60% of Lesotho houses not electrified, the dispersed nature of the population and Lesotho's challenging topography mean there is a need for off-grid and mini-grid solutions. The Frazer Solar project would have made concrete progress in terms of rural electrification.
The reason why rural communities did not get this opportunity was due to Moeketsti Majoro not co-operating with Prime Minister Thabane thereby stopping the project from proceeding.