Abu Dhabi lends $23m for solar, Mauritius to get 10 MW of PV rooftops

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Solar projects worth $23 million in Togo and Guyana secured funding at the ninth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) assembly. The Abu Dhabi Development Fund (ADFD), which offers low interest loans, will lend up to half the costs of selected projects with IRENA carrying out due diligence.

In Togo, a $15 million loan was granted for the construction of a 30 MW PV plant that aims to bring power to an estimated 700,000 households and small businesses. Job creation for local women and greater access to clean drinking water are associated benefits of the project.

Togo’s electricity supply has improved of late through off-grid installations by firms such as London’s BBOXX, which has operated in the nation since 2017, supplying power to more than 26,000 people. The importance of the business to Togolese electrification was recognized by a visit from the nation’s president to the BBOXX’s U.K. headquarters.

In Guyana, $8 million was allocated for the installation of 5.2 MW worth of solar systems in rural areas. It is estimated around 34,700 people will benefit from the project, with 120 jobs created over the lifetime of a scheme which seeks to address energy poverty.

$245m funding to date

Guyana received funding for a 100 MW project from the Norwegian government for a solar project in July last year, which is the nation’s first major renewable energy installation. Solar development projects are also in the pipeline in the area of Diamond, where the national government is working with local industry. Guyana wants all its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

In the same project funding round, $8 million was also awarded to an hydropower project in Liberia.

The project financing was granted as part of the sixth cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, which has committed to provide $350 million through concessional lending for renewable energy projects that receive IRENA recommendations after evaluation of their sustainable development impacts. The latest announcements bring total funding of $245 million for 24 projects.

At the latest funding round, outgoing IRENA director-general Adnan Z Amin said: “The projects selected this year will contribute towards meeting national energy access targets and will transform lives for the better. They will take advantage of cost-effective renewable energy to help reduce poverty, enable income-generating activities and provide electricity to healthcare facilities and educational institutions, which will create jobs, empower women, and strengthen local communities.”

Mauritius solar rooftop project

Online applications for the final funding cycle are open until February 14.

On the same day as the latest ADFD funding awards were announced, a $10 million concessionary loan was finalized with the Mauritian government to fund a PV kit project that was announced at last year’s IRENA assembly and which fell under the previous IRENA/ADFD cycle. Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the ADFD, and Mootoosamy Naidoo, chairman of the Central Electricity Board of Mauritius, signed the agreement after it passed a project feasibility study in October.

The Mauritian project aims to provide 10,000 rooftop PV systems to low-income communities as part of the government’s development strategy, and will contribute to reaching the country’s aim of sourcing 35% of its power from renewable sources by 2025.

It is estimated the project will bring 10 MW of solar generation capacity to households. Mauritius has little solar, although a 2 MW project was initiated near the Tamarind Falls Dam last year. Mauritius, with its high solar irradiation, is also planning a 2 MW floating PV plant, as reported in November.