The government said it will ensure land availability, award permits for a power purchase agreement with utility the National Water & Electricity Company Ltd and prepare transmission lines for connection to a substation.
Banjul will also establish an auction mechanism for the project to reduce the cost of repurchasing electricity and permit independent power producers to have direct access to the grounds and infrastructure of the solar facility.
The Gambian government added, it has identified a 225-hectare site near the 225/30 kV OMVG substation in Soma which is under construction. The substation, in the center of the small nation near where the main east-west road crosses the north-south Trans-Gambia Highway, will be expected to raise the percentage of the Gambian population with access to electricity from 40% to 60%.
The project, which may be coupled with 20 MWh of storage capacity for grid stabilization purposes, is expected to be built in two phases, with the first, 80 MW unit scheduled for completion in 2021 and the second, 70 MW section planned to come online in 2025.
The site’s energy storage capacity may be increased depending on grid needs. “According to preliminary estimates, the 150 MWp GambiaSolar Park will be combined with between 100 and 150 MWh of battery,” said the government.
The GambiaSolar Park will supplement two independent solar projects with generation capacities of 7 MW and 3.5 MW the United Nations Development Program tendered in April as well as 20 MW of solar capacity the World Bank is supporting in the Greater Banjul national capital region in the west of the country.
Gambia’s 2 million people can call upon only 102 MW of installed power generation capacity at present.