The African Development Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a $950,000 grant for the development of the 20 MW Windiga solar PV power plant in Burkina Faso.
The SEFA project preparation grant will support advisory activities required for financial close, including support for the structuring of a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Burkina Faso’s national public utility SONABEL, which operates the country’s electricity grid.
This solar project is a private sector-led independent power producer (IPP) endeavor to design, construct and operate the solar power plant in the Boucle du Mouhoun area in the western part of the country, where it will cover more than 40 hectares (99 acres).
The energy demand in Burkina Faso has increased at an annual rate of over 10% in the last five years and resulted in a widening supply gap across the country. According to a SONABEL report, the country’s installed capacity as of 2013 reached 247 MW, out of which 215 MW is supplied by thermal power. Moreover, hydropower in the country has limited potential and is excessively dependent on irregular rainfall pattern. Unless new energy sources are harnessed to satisfy demand, the country will have to continue relying significantly on thermal plants, hydroelectricity and variable energy supply from the neighbouring countries, mainly from the Ivory Coast.
The project will therefore contribute to the Burkina Faso government’s plans to significantly develop the country’s solar energy potential with the aim of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation and helping address the nation’s projected energy shortfall while lowering the average price of electricity, according to the African Development Bank.
The Windiga solar plant will be the first private sector infrastructure project in the country and one of the first solar PV IPPs funded by the African Development Bank, which said the project underscored its commitment to providing green infrastructure with a focus on low-income member countries.