Niger’s prime minister Brigi Rafini and the minister of energy Amina Moumouni have inaugurated the country’s first solar power plant, according to a statement released by local state-owned utility Nigelec.
The 7 MW facility is located near Malbaza, a rural village in central Niger, and is the result of a project developed under the “Renaissance Program Act II”, which has received support from the Indian government.
The $24.7 million PV plant, according to the local government, will cover the electricity needs of around 30,000 households in the departments of Madaoua, Malbaza and Konni.
The project is part of a plan to deploy 100 MW of solar by 2021, which includes a recently streamlined 20 MW project, and four more plants in Dosso (10 MW), Maradi (20 MW), Niamey-Gorou Banda (30 MW) and Malbaza (13 MW).
On the top of this, in the country there is also a 22 MW solar-diesel hybrid power plant under development, which was tendered by the French Development Agency in February.
Niger currently has one of the lowest rates of access to power in Africa. Among its population of around 20 million people, only around 15% has access to electricity. Still relying mainly on power imports from neighboring Nigeria, the country has an installed power generation capacity of just 140 MW. This means that once its solar plans are finalized, it will represent almost the half of its power generation assets.