Mali to receive US$25mn loan to build solar photovoltaic plant

Nellis AFB Solar panelsAn example of a photovoltaic solar power plant at the Nellis Air Force Base, United States. (Image source: USAF/Commons)The solar photovoltaic plant is planned to transform the West Africa energy market

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved a concessional loan of US$25mn to fund the Segou Solar PV Project, which is set to be Mali’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant.

The project will be funded by the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), with co-financing from the AfDB (US$8.4mn) and International Finance Corporation (US$8.4mn). 

The project consists of the design, construction, and operations of a 33 MW Power Plant. The transformational project will lead to a direct increase in the country’s installed capacity from a renewable resource and will generate 52.7 GWh annually (approximately 10 per cent of the current generation capacity) over 25 years for a lifetime output of 1,316.75 GWh.

“Introducing utility-scale solar PV as an energy source will enable Mali to harness its abundant solar energy potential, diversify the country’s energy mix, and increase access to cleaner energy for its citizens,” said Anthony Nyong, AfDB’s Director of Climate Change and Green Growth. 

“The project’s specific business model is a potential energy game-changer for Mali and indeed for all of West Africa. The project is a demonstration of the significant role that concessional climate finance can play in mitigating project specific risks and in addressing barriers that would otherwise hinder private sector involvement in renewable energy projects. This structure not only allows the Government of Mali to allocate valuable resources to other sectors of the economy, it also smoothens the way for private sector investments. It has ultimately opened the door for the industry to begin to flourish in West Africa.”

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