Engie secures financing for 60 MW of solar in Senegal

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A trio of international development lenders will provide €38 million in loans to fund two 30 MW solar power plants in Senegal.

The Proparco unit of the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have made the funds available to project development partners French power company Engie and Meridiam, a Parisian global investor and asset manager. The Sovereign Fund for Strategic Investment, created in 2012 to boost private sector investment in Senegal will also be involved.

“Proparco, with the experience gained in the financing provided in 2016 for the construction of the Senergy and Ten Merina solar power plants in Senegal, coordinated IFC and EIB operations in this operation,” Proparco said in a statement.

The Scaling Program

The two 30 MW projects will be the first developed in Senegal under the Scaling Solar program overseen by the World Bank, which operates the IFC as its private sector investment arm. “With the signing of this funding, Senegal is once again demonstrating that the Scaling Solar approach is achieving record prices by attracting world-leading players while also enabling competition,” said Aliou Maiga, IFC regional director for West and central Africa.

The Scaling Solar initiative aims to create viable markets for solar power in the developing world with the IFC as principal transaction advisor.

Through a tender for both plants finalized by Senegal’s Electricity Sector Regulatory Commission (CRSE) in April 2018, Engie and Meridiam secured long-term power purchase agreements with national power utility Société d’Electricité du Sénégal.

The first 30 MW project, planned by the French consortium in Kahone in western Senegal, will sell power for €0.03801/kWh and the second plant – in Touba in central Senegal – has secured a tariff of €0.03983. The CRSE pre-qualified 13 of the 14 bids submitted for the tender but shortlisted only eight developers for the final phase of the procurement.

Previous achievements

In January 2016 Senegal became the second African country to join the Scaling Solar program. The nation had around 134 MW of installed solar power generation capacity at the end of last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The country’s operational large scale solar assets include the aforementioned Senergy and Ten Merina plants, which were developed by Engie and each have a 30 MW capacity. The former is in Santhiou Mékhé, near Méouane northeast of Dakar. Ten Merina was built in Merina Dakhar, 120km northeast of the capital and was commissioned in January last year. Both plants were constructed by Engie unit Solairedirect.

Those utility scale projects are not the only solar installations making headlines in Senegal as off-grid PV projects are also being developed in more remote areas.

Senegal has around 650 MW of total installed power generation capacity and is planning to deploy 200 MW of solar up to next year.