Senegal and Mali battle for solar supremacy

Senegal and Mali battle for solar supremacy

Two West African countries are racing to complete the region’s first large-scale solar plants.

Senegal is constructing Senergy II, a photovoltaic power plant with 20MW capacity, in Bokhol, near its border with Mauritania, aiming to connect to the electricity grid in mid-2016. The plant will give access to electricity to nearly 200,000 people and contribute to the doubling of the installed power generation target of Senegal. It will help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the emission of 25,000 tons of CO2 per year.

GE Reports Africa Energy

The project was launched by GreenWish, an investment company based in France, Senegal and Mauritius. French group Vinci will do construction and maintenance, and the African Development Bank is arranging the debt. The total investment will be €25m ($27m) .

Senergy II is expected to employ 150 people during construction and local communities will benefit from the implementation of a rural electrification programme.

Mali meanwhile has signed an agreement with a Norwegian renewable energy specialist to build an industrial-scale solar power plant. Oslo-based Scatec Solar will build the €52m ($56m) unit near the southwestern city of Segou and run it for 25 years.

IFC InfraVentures, a global infrastructure project development fund that is part of the IFC, will partner with Scatec Solar and a local project developer to set up the 33MW solar photovoltaic power plant. It is expected to produce enough electricity each year to power 60,000 homes and cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 46,000 tonnes.

The scheme will be registered to allow revenue generation from the sale of international carbon credits.

A 25-year power purchase agreement has been signed between the Malian Ministry of Energy and Water, Electricité du Mali (EDM) and Segou Solaire. Scatec will own 50% of the Segou plant while the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation will hold 32.5%, leaving the remaining equity to local partner Africa Power 1. The project is to be funded by a combination of traditional bank borrowing, a loan from the World Bank’s Investment Climate Fund and equity contributed by the partners.

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Written by Alexa Dalby

Alexa Dalby is a freelance arts and business journalist, with over 20 years varied experience of writing and broadcasting about Africa, and is currently assistant editor of African Business and African Banker magazines. She is a film critic and a specialist in African and Middle Eastern cinema.

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