Burkina Faso tenders for 30 MW of solar

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The state-owned electric utility of Burkina Faso, Sonabel, has issued a tender for construction of two PV power plants which will be partly financed by the World Bank under its Electricity Sector Support Project.

According to the tender document, a 20 MW solar facility will be deployed near Koudougou, in Boulkiemdé province and a second, 10 MW project is planned for the city of Kaya, in the department of Sanmatenga province. For both projects, Sonabel is seeking developers for turnkey construction and for technical assistance to operation and maintenance. Interested companies have time until February 28 to submit project proposals.

The projects appear not be part of the Burkina Faso government’s plan to connect around 155 MW of PV capacity to Sonabel’s network, in a program announced by the Ministry of Energy in late November.

The scheme, originally aimed at deploying 100 MW before being expanded in an effort to improve power supply in a country largely dependent on fossil fuels, includes two projects with capacities of 20 MW and 15 MW. Those projects are being developed by a consortium formed by France’s Quadran and Spain’s Soltech and Syscom, and will be deployed in Zano, in the Tenkodogo department of Boulgou province in south-eastern Burkina Faso and in Boucle de Mouhoun, in the nation’s central region.

Only 33 MW of solar capacity to date

A 30 MW facility is being planned by investment firm Naange in Kalzi, also in the central region, and a further 30 MW project is expected to be developed by French solar company Urbasolar in Pâ, in the Boucle de Mouhoun region. Two more 30 MW projects have been proposed by Africa-Ren and France’s Green Yellow, in Kodeni, in Houet province; and in the capital, Ouagadougou, respectively.

“The power generation of these 155 MW will allow Sonabel to increase its capacity but also to buy … kilowatt [hours] at CFA48 ($0.084) on average, a price well below the current cost produced from thermal power plants, which varies between CFA100 and CFA110/kWh,” the Ministry of Energy said in a statement. Grid connection of all of the projects is expected to be achieved in 2020, the government added.

Burkina Faso has an operational PV capacity of 33 MW, represented by the Zagtouli Solar Power Station which was commissioned in late November 2017. The nation has total power generation capacity of around 250 MW and meets around 20% of its demand with imports from neighboring Ghana, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.