World Bank supports Burkina Faso’s rural solar electrification with $168m


The World Bank has agreed to support Burkina Faso's Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) to improve access to electricity in rural areas with $168 million.

Of the total sum, $75 million will come from the International Development Association (IDA) and $93 million from the Clean Technology Fund. “This new project is in line with our strategy for the Sahel, which aims to double the rate of access to electricity by 2025, especially in rural areas, and to create the conditions for more private financing in the energy sector,” explained Maimouna Mbow Fam, World Bank operations manager for Burkina Faso.

The funds will be used for the development of the Large Scale Solar and Rural Electrification Project which supports the electrification of around 300 locations in selected rural areas and the connection of 120,000 households, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and community infrastructure, to a reliable power supply. In addition, the allocated funds will finance key investments to strengthen the grid and enable the integration of solar generation and its distribution during peak demand.

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The project will also facilitate the launch of a tender for 325 MWp of solar with 335 MWh of storage capacity, which will be developed in several phases with a first phase of 120 MWp with 120 MWh of battery storage, which will be launched mid-2021. “This new scheme will enable Burkina Faso to mobilize more than $400 million in private investment in solar production and innovative battery storage systems,” added Alexis Madelain, project team leader at the World Bank. “This will make it possible to develop the country's solar potential on a scale, reduce the cost of electricity supply, and thus extend access to electricity services in rural areas, without increasing the sector's need for subsidies.”

Burkina Faso had only 62 MW of solar generation capacity at the end of last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. However, large PV projects are taking shape in the West African state, such as the 30 MW plant that Axpo Group business Urbasolar began constructing near Pâ in February and two solar plants, totaling 30 MW, which are under construction by Engie.

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