Madagascar sees its first solar park come online

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The President of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina has commissioned a 20 MW solar power plant built by French developer, Green Yellow in Ambohipihaonana, in the district of Ambatolampy, in the Vakinankaratra Region, situated in the Central Highlands of the country.

Construction on the project began at the end of 2016. The €25 million facility is set to deliver power to local utility, Jirama under a long-term PPA. The project was originally expected to be completed by November 2017.

“Around 30% of the electricity produced at the Ambohipihaonana plant is destined for the interconnected network of Antsirabe, while 70% for Antananarivo, Itasy and Moramanga,” Rajaonarimampianina said. “Through such an achievement, we all feel a legitimate pride, especially as this kind of infrastructure is expected to multiply throughout the country,” he added.

The President went on to say that the Ambohipihaonana project will drive down the cost of electricity in the area, which is around 480 MGA ($0.16) per kWh. Most of the country’s generation capacity is still represented by thermal power stations (406 MW) and hydropower plants (162 MW).

“The construction of solar power plants will expand because they answer the crucial questions of the cost of production, the improvement of the access of the population to electricity, and the protection of the environment,” Rajaonarimampianina said.

The World Bank is supporting Madagascar’s solar plans under the Scaling Solar initiative. The IFC, a member of the World Bank, signed an agreement with the government of Madagascar to design and tender a partnership for privately developed, grid-connected solar power in March 2016.

At the time, the IFC said that the 30-40 MW solar facility planned by Madagascar’s government would help ease daily interruptions of power service, and reduce generation costs for Jirama.