Togo joins Scaling Solar program for 90 MW

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The International Financial Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank group, and the government of Togo have agreed to jointly develop several solar projects with a combined capacity of 90 MW.

The government said in a released statement that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with IFC for the projects, however project details were not disclosed. It said that the projects will be developed under the umbrella of the Scaling Solar initiative, and that they will be finalized within two years.

The government added that the IFC has previously supported Togo’s efforts to deploy solar by funding studies assessing the potential and absorptive capacity of the national electricity grid and by providing financial support to evaluate the off-grid solar energy market.

Scaling Solar is a “one stop shop” scheme, which supports privately financed grid-connected solar PV projects and supports project development with an initial legal, regulatory and technical analysis. The initiative prepares and holds the tender for the projects, while supporting developers with pre-approved financing.

If implemented, these new projects will be the first utility-scale solar developments in the African country, which so far has mostly been rural electrification solar projects. In 2017, the Togolese Republic launched an initiative aimed at bringing solar energy to two million people in the country’s remote areas without connection to the power system by 2022. Since March of this year, the government began offering rebates to Togolese households to cover upfront costs of stand-alone PV systems. Earlier in 2018, UK based BBOXX won a tender to provide off-grid PV systems to 30,000 Togolese households. French energy giant EDF acquired 50% of the company’s shares in October 2018.

Togo is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of approximately 7.5 million and frequent energy shortages. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Togo is currently being supplied its power from thermal plants, imported from Nigeria and Ghana, and some hydropower. The country’s access rate to power is currently around 28%. The government hopes to raise this percentage to 75% in 2020 and 100% in 2030.