Chad unveils plans for giant solar park

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The Presidency of the Republic of Chad has announced in a press release that the country’s Minister of Oil and Energy, Boukar Michel has signed an agreement with Ghanem Al Mazrouei, president of Dubai-based company, Almaden Emirates Fortune Power LLC,  for the construction of a giant solar park at an unspecified location in Chad.

The government specified that the big solar plant could have a capacity of between 200 MW and 400 MW, without providing further details.

Almaden Emirates Fortune Power LLC is a joint venture between Dubai’s investment holding company, Emirates Fortune Group and Chinese solar module maker, Almaden, which also operates a 150 MW PV panel factory in Dubai. Prior to this announcement, the two companies were already cooperating under a partnership agreement.

If built, the project will significantly help reduce the number of people without access to electricity in the country. Of the around 14.4 million inhabitants of Chad, around 13 million still have no power. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the landlocked country currently has just 125 MW of power generation capacity (mostly relying on diesel and heavy fuel oil generators), which primarily serves N’Djamena, Chad’s capital.

In order to reduce power shortages, the local government is also encouraging independent power producers to take action. Last July, a consortium including solar project developer, NewSolar Invest, engineering group, CIEC Monaco, and infrastructure and renewable energy project financier, Arborescence Capital was awarded a loan – the amount of which was not divulged – by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to construct the Starsol plant, a 32 MW PV facility, which is set to supply  electricity to N’Djamena.

The financing includes funds for the improvement of the interconnection line between Chad and Cameroon, and the rehabilitation of the generation assets of the country’s power utility, National Electricity Company (SNE).