Burkina Faso commissions 33 MW PV plant

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The president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, and the French president Emmanuel Macron, have today officially commissioned what they call Westen Africa’s largest PV plant.

According the country’s Minister of Energy, the PV 33 MW plant is located in the Zagtouli village near the capital Ouagadougou. The project was financed by France’s Development Agency (AFD) to the tune of €22.5 million and by the European Union with €25 million. The facility is supplying 5% – about 55 GWh per year – of the country’s total electricity consumption.

According to AFD, the plant will sell power to local utility Sonabel at 35 CFA (around $0.06) per kWh, while producing energy cost the energy provider an average of 133 CFA per kWh in 2016. It was built by Cegelec, a unit of French developer Vinci Energies, with 129,600 solar modules with an output of 26o W.

Although Burkina Faso is a landlocked country with very limited access energy resources, it has an annual solar radiation of 19.8 MJ/ m2 per day and the direct sunshine is over 3,000 hours per year. The governmemt’s recent energy strategy is seeking to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and gradually shift the country’s production mix to clean energy and electricity imports at an affordable cost.

The World Bank approved a $80 million credit to Burkina Faso for the Electricity Sector Support Project (PASEL) in June of this year. The funds are being used to incorporate low-cost solar resources into Burkina Faso’s energy mix and improve its distribution network, the financial institution said at the time. Later in October, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has announced that it will provide an undisclosed sum to co-finance Burkina Faso’s plans to electrify several rural areas in the period 2017-2021.