Madagascar commissions its first solar-plus-storage project

The population of Belobaka, a locality situated 291 km from Antananarivo, in the Bongolava region of Madagascar has finally gained access to electricity. The president of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina inaugurated a solar-plus-storage power facility on the 27th of October.

The project was financed by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in the frame of the $63 million program “Power Africa” which aims to enlarge access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The PV plant in Belobaka is one of 100 units set to be installed throughout Madagascar.

The plant has 720 PV modules and the batteries in place have a 315 Kwh storage capacity, which can supply electricity for 3 days without running out. According to the U.S. ambassador Robert Yamate, this investment is a new step towards cooperation between the two states, with this project showing how the adoption and implementation of these new innovating technologies can help electrify rural Madagascar.

On his part, Rajaonarimampianina indicated that Belobaka was not chosen randomly to start the project, with the village having a positive economic potential, but however being handicapped by insecurity and inefficiency problems which were either enhanced or created by the lack of energy resources. With this change, the president hopes that communities like this one can now subsist and thrive.

Madagascar’s government recently announced it has introduced a VAT and custom duty exemption for the imports of PV components and 50% reduction on the tax it imposes on the revenue generated by residential and commercial PV systems.

The country aims to grant access to electricity to up to 70% of households, and at covering 85% of its energy mix with renewables by 2030. Solar and wind are expected to reach both a 5% share, while hydropower will have the lion’s share, with around 75%.