The provincial government of Tshopo, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has signed an agreement with Cat Projects Africa for the development and construction of a 40 MW solar park near the province’s capital, Kisangani.
The $50 million, 65.5-hectare project, the local authority said, will feature around 155,000 solar modules, 36 transformers and 72 inverters. The plant will generate power for utility Société nationale d'électricité. No further technical or financial details were disclosed.
The project is intended to boost power supply in an area dependent on a recently rehabilitated 12 MW hydroelectric plant at the Tshopo River Falls.
At present, the huge African nation has only off-grid solar systems, including those which power UN missions in the state. However Chinese thin-film manufacturer Hanergy this year announced a plan to deploy 400 MW of solar generation capacity in the provinces of Katanga, Lualaba, Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï-Central, Kivu and Sankuru. Hanergy said it wanted to help DR Congo achieve a target of 65% electrification by 2025 and universal electric access by 2030.
The troubled African country has a population of around 85 million and an electrification access rate of around 9%, a figure which in rural areas falls close to 1%. DR Congo has power generation capacity of around 2.67 GW, of which 2.54 GW is hydropower and 135 MW thermal power.