IFC program pledges 200 MW solar for Senegal

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has welcomed Senegal on to its Scaling Solar program, setting an installment goal of 200 MW of PV within the next few years.

Following in the footsteps of Zambia, which joined in 2015, Senegal has become the second African nation to join the IFC program, which was unveiled last year to promote the use of clean energy in various sub-Saharan African countries.

For Senegal, the Scaling Solar initiative will deliver 100 MW of solar PV capacity within the first two years of the program via an auction process set to be held later this year. By increasing Senegal’s solar PV footprint, the country will be able to deliver electricity to a greater proportion of its population. According to the World Bank, more than half of Senegalese people have no access to electricity.

The IFC will organize competitive reverse auctions for solar, as well as providing financing and guarantees for investors in order to reduce funding risks.

Selected bidders for auction will be offered non-negotiable project documents, which will include PPAs and an agreement from the Senegal government that it will support efforts to add solar.

"This innovative partnership with Senegal is important for creating a new market for solar power investment in the region," said IFC director for West and Central Africa, Vera Songwe. "Scaling Solar is an excellent example of how World Bank Group expertise can help governments in the region meet their most pressing needs."

World Bank director for Senegal, Louise Cord, said that access to electricity is fundamental for Senegal’s economic development, stressing: "Scaling Solar will help the government of Senegal to draw on an abundant renewable energy source to deliver energy quickly and efficiently."

Having been a pioneer for the initiative, Zambia has already made great strides towards connecting its first large-scales solar plant, with 48 companies seeking prequalification for the two initial 50 MW PV projects being offered under the program.