Sierra Leone begins construction on its first solar park

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The Ministry of Energy of Sierra Leone announced that work had begun on the country’s first large-scale PV power plant, the 6 MW Solar Park Freetown.

The $12.6 million project is being built with the support of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the UAE-based Advanced Science and Innovation Company (ASIC) LLC as the project manager and the EPC contractor SMRT Projects and Energy Solutions (SMRT P&ES). The project also comprises an additional extension and upgrade of road and grid-power infrastructure, including an extension of the 161KV grid power line, a distribution substation, and a MV/HV substation.

The project is being financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) with $9 million, and the Sierra Leone government with €3.6 million.

The solar facility, which will be built with polycrystalline modules with a power output of 350 W, will provide with power both urban and western rural districts around Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown. Works on the facility are planned to be finalized within 12 months, the ministry said.

The 6 MW solar project in Freetown has been on hold since the summer of 2014, when the government of Sierra Leone first announced its plan to build the PV park.

Currently, Sierra Leone’s total power generation capacity does not exceed 100 MW. Due to its limited transmission and distribution network, the country has an electrification rate of just 5%.