Benin approves four PV projects totaling 50 MW

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Benin’s Council of Ministers has approved the construction of four PV power plants with a combined capacity of 50 MW.

The government said in a press release that the projects will be developed in the frame of the Millennium Challenge Account-Bénin II (MCA-Benin II) program, an initiative supported by the US government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to foster economic growth in the country. The US are contributing approximately $375 million to the program, while Benin is providing another $28 million.

Benin’s government added that the projects will be built through private-public partnerships, and that an ad hoc commission will be created for the procurement process of the IPPs.

Enhancing the country’s solar project pipeline

The four solar power plants will be located in Bohicon (15 MW) in southern Benin, and in Parakou (15 MW), Djougou (10 MW) and Natitingou (10 MW), in the northern part of the country. Additional technical and financial details about the projects were not disclosed.

There is currently another large-scale solar plant under development in the Sub-Saharan country, a 25 MW project recently tendered by the French Development Agency (AFD). This project is being financially supported by the European Union and the AFD with €60 million.

All of these projects are part of the government’s plan to add around 150 MW of new generation capacity, which would more than double the country’s current capacity which stands at approximately 140 MW. This operational capacity is enough to cover only about 20 percent of total power demand, with the remaining 80 percent being provided by imports from neighbor countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.

The World Bank approved a $60 million credit facility in June, to be used for improving the operations of local state-owned utility, SBEE.