Wärtsilä delivers 15 MW hybrid PV plant to Essakane Solar in Burkina Faso

Helsinki-based manufacturer for energy solutions Wärtsilä is to supply a 15 MW hybrid PV plant to Essakane Solar SAS in Burkina Faso. The solar farm will be built next to, and synchronized with, Wärtsilä´s 55 MW oil driven power plant, forming the largest hybrid power plant in Africa, the Finnish company announced on Wednesday.

Wärtsilä will be in charge oversee the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the solar portion of the plant, and also the control system for the hybrid plant.

Essakane Solar will operate the system and sell the energy to IAMGOLD’s Essakane Mine – an off-grid gold mine located 330 kilometers northeast of Burkina Faso‘s capital city, Ouagadougou.

Jukka-Pekka Niemi, General Manager for Marketing at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions, told pv magazine that operation of the 128,000 thin film panels, delivered by First Solar, is scheduled to begin in late 2017. Both partners have agreed not to provide any information about the costs of the project, said Niemi.

Once completed, the hybrid power plant will enable the mine to decrease its fuel consumption by around six million liters, and its CO2 emissions by 18,500 tons per year. In addition, the project will create a number of local jobs during both the construction phase and for its ongoing operation.

Wärtsilä recently completed another utility-scale hybrid power plant that unites a large fuel-based power station with a solar PV park. In 2014 Wärtsilä delivered a 250 MW Smart Power Generation plant driven by heavy oil to AES Jordan and connected it with a 46 MW solar PV park, which was built by the Helsinki based energy company, this year.

Author: Carl Johannes Muth