Benin launches 50 MW solar tender

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The Millennium Challenge Account-Bénin II (MCA-Benin II) program, an initiative supported by the U.S. government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to foster economic growth in Benin, has kicked off a tender for the construction of four solar power plants with a combined capacity of 50 MW.

The four projects, which were approved by Benin’s government in mid-June, will be developed under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) mode and will sell power to the country’s state-owned utility Société Beninoise d’Énergie Electrique (SBEE) under a 20-year PPA.

A 10 MW plant is to be located in Natitingou, in north western Benin, while another project of the same size is to be deployed in Djougou, in the northwestern part of the country. Furthermore, MCA-Benin II will tender two more 15 MW plants in Bohicon and Parakouh, located in northern and southern Benin, respectively.

Interested developers will have until August 19 to pre-qualify for the tender.

All of these projects and another 25 MW project recently tendered by the French Development Agency (AFD), are part of the government’s plan to add around 150 MW of new electricity capacity, which would more than double the approximately 140 MW of generation currently online in Benin, only enough to cover about 20% of total power demand in the west African nation. The remaining 80% is provided by imports from neighboring 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 Benin’s state-owned utility, SBEE.