IRENA involved in 6 MW Sierra Leone PV plant

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Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has announced this week that the country has won the first call for proposals for funding for a 6 MW, $18 million solar PV project in its capital, Freetown.

A collaborative agreement between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has been created to help add valuable and much-needed clean and renewable energy resources in Africa. The 6 MW Freetown Solar Park project – which will service urban and western rural districts around the capital – is one of the largest deals to be struck so far.

Of the $18 million pledged, the ADFD has extended $9 million, with the other 50% of funding coming via private equity. On the ground, the development of the solar park will be overseen by the Advanced Science and Innovation Company (ASIC), which will facilitate the co-financing and management of the project, alongside the Sierra Leone Ministry of Energy.

Kaifala Marah, minister of finance and economic development for the government of the Republic of Sierra Leone expressed his thanks for all third-party involvement in the project, adding that he hoped the plant, once completed later this year, would help put sierra Leone on the global map of renewable energy and "further strengthen the existing cordial relationship between the governments of Sierra Leone and the UAE."

The solar park in Freetown will become the first of its kind to be connected to the Sierra Leone grid. Thus far, solar power’s penetration into the country has come largely via off-grid installations used primarily to power rural villages with no access to the grid.