Windiga Energy plans inaugural PV plant for Burkina Faso

Canada’s Windiga Energy, an independent renewable energy power producer, has this week signed an investment support agreement with the Government of Burkina Faso to build and develop a 20 MW solar PV plant in the country.

In what will become the very first completed solar project of its type in Burkina Faso, the 20 MW plant is planned for the town of Zina, which is located in the remote Mouhoun province. Siemens Energy Smart Generation Solutions have been selected to build and operate the plant, which is penciled in for completion by the end of 2015.

Once finished, it will be the single largest solar PV plant in sub-Sahara Africa. Finance for the project is being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Frontier Markets Fund Managers and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

"We are very pleased with the support that we received from both the governments of Burkina Faso and Canada allowing us to conclude this strategic agreement that will bring about the construction of a major renewable energy project and the launch of the solar energy industry in Burkina Daso," said Windiga Energy CEO and president, Benoit La Salle. "This power plant will also contribute to the economic development of the region, employing about 150 Burkinabe workers during the construction phase."

During the signing of the agreement, which outlines a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the National Electricity Company of Burkina (SONABEL), Canada’s Minister of International Trade, the Honorable Edward Fast, remarked: "This US$50 million project will help to meet the country’s electricity needs and is a historic agreement between the two nations."

Currently, less than 15% of the Burkina Faso population has access to grid-connected electricity, and in rural areas – of which there are many – that figure is below 3%. In 2012, the EU backed a €25 million, 22 MW PV plant for the country that was due to come online in late 2013. However, legal wrangles related to the tendering process have delayed the project, which had also agreed a PPA with SONABEL.