Mali moves forward with another large-scale PV project

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Mali’s cabinet has adopted a draft decree to approve the first 29.6 MW phase of a 50 MW solar plant in Sikasso, the capital of the Sikasso Region, in the southernmost part of the country.

The government said that the Ministry of Energy and Water has awarded the temporary concession to PowerPro to develop and operate the project under a public-private partnership. “The company was selected as a provisional beneficiary of the concession for an amount of approximately CFA 28.87 billion ($49.7 million), excluding taxes and custom duties,” the government said in a statement. The operating time frame of the concession is 28 years.

The Malian cabinet said the project will strengthen the production capacity of the country’s interconnected grid network to reduce the average cost of electricity, while improving the quality of public electricity services.

The Sikasso plant is one of four large-scale solar projects currently under development in Mali. They include a 50 MW project by Akuo Kita Solar SA, a 33 MW plant planned by Norway’s Scatec Solar, and a 25 MW facility to be built in Koutiala by Access Power, Eren and Africa Invest. The first two projects have already reached financial close. All of them were conceived as IPP projects to sell electricity to Mali’s power utility, Energie du Mali-SA, under long-term PPAs.

The government of Mali aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the national electricity mix to 25% by 2033, alongside a 61% rural electrification target. In February, the government also approved a rural solar electrification project to increase electricity access in 50 identified communities by installing 4.83 MW of isolated solar PV mini-grid systems.

In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Water and the Mali Renewable Energy Agency (AER-Mali) are conducting a Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) with the support of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The initiative aims to identify key actions to capitalize on the country’s significant renewable energy potential.