Africa has faced a series of tough times with power shortage. Frequent power cuts in different parts of the continents do not just disrupt daily lives, but also take their toll on businesses as well as domestic consumers.
Estimatedly, 64 percent of people living in the Sahel region do not have access to electricity. Sahel is a mid-region on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, stretching from Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia in the eastern part of the continent. Countries such as Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and Eritrea fall within.
The lack of sustainable power supply across the continent does not just hinder economic improvement but social development is as well hampered. Nonetheless, the continent is set to be the world’s largest solar power zone, on the back of the numerous renewable energy projects going on in individual countries.
Recently, the European Investment Bank, in agreement with the International Finance Corporation, unveiled a USD 52.8 Mn financial commitment to construct a pair of photovoltaic solar power plants in Senegal. The facilities which will be installed by a consortium of Engie and other partners, are set in Kahone and Kael, two central regions in Senegal.
These two solar energy projects are reported to have the capacity to provide access to more than 600,000 Senegalese and generate 30 MW of electricity.
While the French companies Engie and Meridiam will each hold a 40 percent stake in the initiative, 20 percent will be reserved for the Senegalese sovereign fund (FONSIS).
Proparco, a French-partly-owned developmental financial institution involved in the project, said the two engagements will bring an end to the emission of 2.2 million tons of CO2 over their lifetime of installations.
While they will go a long way in producing the cheapest energy in the French-speaking country, they will contribute to Senegal’s low-carbon strategy and ambitious objective to increase the share of renewable energies in its energy mix.
Per figures from the African Development Bank, the energy poverty situation in Africa costs the continent an estimated 2-4 percent in GDP every year.
The new large-scale power initiatives are the 7th and 8th in Senegal, and just two out of the many renewable energy projects across the continent. These developments are a strong demonstration of the momentum underway in the continent towards stable power supply.
“With the signing of the funding, Senegal is once again demonstrating that the Scaling Solar approach provides record prices by creating a competitive tender and attracting world-leading players.
We are pleased that many other countries, in Africa and beyond, are following this path and are adopting this model to accelerate the development of solar energy” said Aliou Maiga, IFC Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
Featured Image: Afrik21