Solar Era seeks EPC for 5 MW in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone-based independent power producer Solar Era Holdings, a unit of Africa Growth Energy Solutions, is seeking EPC contractors for a 5 MW PV project in Bo, Sierra Leone. According to the US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) interested project developers must submit their offers by June 16, 2017.

The project is the first phase of a 25 MW hybrid PV-diesel power project, for which a feasibility study is currently being conducted by Power Engineers, Incorporated. USTDA is currently supporting the development of Phase 1 and the launch of Phase 2 with a grant funding the feasibility study.

According to the USTDA, the project’s hybrid option will address problems with intermittency and stability, bringing new power online to better manage electricity demand. The US agency agreed to finance the feasibility study for the project in September 2016.

“The new plants”, said USTDA at the time, “will support more dependable power generation and improve energy access in the country, where only 13 percent of the population currently has access.”

In May 2015, the country’s Parliament ratified the PPA between the government of Sierra Leone and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and Solar Era Holdings relating to the 5 MW solar project estimated at $12 million.

Solar Era’s project is the second large-scale PV project under development in the African country. In early May, Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Energy signed an implementation agreement with Infinity -E Consortium for the construction of a 6 MW solar power plant in Freetown, the country’s capital and largest city.

The $12.6 million project is being financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) with $9 million, and the Sierra Leone government with €3.6 million. Minister of Energy Henry Macauley said he had gone through several battles with donor partners towards ensuring that light becomes available to the people of Sierra Leone.