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Norwegian power producer Scatec Solar has signed an agreement to build West Africa’s first large utility-scale solar power plant in southeast Mali
The build-own-operate agreement for the 33MW solar project was signed between Scatec Solar, Mali’s Ministry of Energy and Water and Electricité du Mali (EDM), the country’s electricity utility. The project will be developed in partnership with IFC InfraVentures and the local developer Africa Power 1.
The agreement includes a power purchase agreement (PPA) between EDM and Segou Solaire SA, the local project company controlled by Scatec Solar, for the delivery of solar power over the next 25 years. The PPA with EDM is complemented by a concession contract with the government of Mali that grants Segou Solaire a license to operate.
The project will cost a total of more than US$57mn and will be financed by a mix of debt (45 per cent), concessional loan (30 per cent) and equity investment from project partners (25 per cent).
Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said, “After several years of development efforts in the region, we can now move forward with the first utility-scale solar plant in West Africa. The Malian Authorities have demonstrated decisive will to tackle the nagging issue of power supply.”
The company will own 50 per cent of the power plant and the World Bank’s project development fund, IFC InfraVentures will hold 32.5 per cent, while the local project development company, Africa Power 1 will hold the remaining 17.5 per cent. Scatec Solar will construct the plant and also provide operation and maintenance services after the plant is connected to the grid.
Chairman of Africa Power 1 Dr. Ibrahim Togola said, “Mali now becomes the first country to install the largest solar grid-connected power plant in the region. This high profile joint-venture in which Malian citizens participate will serve as a model to launch the solar era in West Africa.”
Annual production from the 33MW plant is estimated to be 60,000 MWh. The ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar plant will deploy approximately 130,000 PV modules on a fixed tilt system and will connect to an existing transmission line. The power generated from the plant represents five per cent of Mali’s total electricity consumption, equal to the electricity consumption of 60,000 households.
During the construction phase, the project will provide 200 local jobs. As part of Scatec’s corporate philosophy, special emphasis will be put on transferring technical expertise to the local community.
“One of the pillars of the World Bank’s country assistance strategy for Mali is to increase access to energy, a development fundamental. IFC InfraVentures’ partnership with Scatec Solar and Africa Power 1 helps advance this strategy through Scatec Segou, part of a series of renewable energy projects we are developing in the country,” said global head of IFC InfraVentures Alain Ebobisse.