The E.U. has said it will provide €25 million towards the cost of 22 MW photovoltaic project in Burkina Faso. It is expected to be the biggest plant of its kind in West Africa, when online in late 2013.
The Zagtouli plant will be sited 20 km from the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, and its 96,000 solar panels will generate 32 GWh per year, providing 6% of the country’s current electricity production – enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of 40,000 people.
E.U. commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced the financial support last week. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) agreed to supply a further €38 million in loans for the project, which the Burkinabe ministry of mines and energy says will be put out to tender soon.
Only 15% of the Burkinabe population have access to electricity – a figure that drops to 3% in rural areas. Overall, the 35-hectare Zagtouli plant, scheduled for completion late next year, will provide 22 MW of installed capacity.
Commissioner Piebalgs commented, "More than 1 billion people on the planet do not have access to electricity, half of them in Africa. This is one of the greatest brakes on Africa's development. To unlock this huge potential the E.U. pledged to connect 500 million people to energy and we put our money where our mouth is.
"The new solar power plant in Burkina Faso shows that the E.U. is committed to supporting a much-needed change in Africa's production of sustainable energy. For Burkina Faso, this means a massively improved supply of greener electricity, increased energy independence of the country, and a more secure energy supply for the population."
E.U. institutions have provided more than €450 million for energy projects across West Africa in the last five years.
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