The French Development Agency (AFD) has issued a tender for the construction of a 22 MW solar-diesel hybrid power plant near Agades, the largest city in central Niger.
The project will consist of a 13 MW PV power plant, three 2 MW diesel power stations, a 5 MWh storage system, a 20kV substation and two 20kV lines with a length of around 3 km. The facility will be connected to the local power grid and will sell electricity to Niger’s state-owned power utility, Nigelec. Interested developers must submit their bids by February 28, 2018.
If implemented, the project would be the country’s first MW-sized ground-mounted PV plant, with Niger only recently resorting to solar as an energy source. To date, the government has just supported off-grid initiatives, the most important of which is the Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESPA), a World Bank program aimed at bringing solar power to rural communities.
Access to power is currently below 1% in Niger’s rural areas, while in urban areas it ranges between 20% and 40% in smaller cities, and around 50% in Niamey, the capital city. In 2016, the country’s peak demand reached only 260 MW, although its population was estimated at 20.7 million.