The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund will finance 80% of the construction of Urbasolar SAS’ new solar plant planned for 250km south-east of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The plant will be located near the town of Pâ and it will supply electricity to Burkina Faso’s power utility, La Société National D’électricité Du Burkina Faso (SONABEL).
The ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant will have a peak power of 29,967.84 kWp. The PV modules will be installed on fixed structures with an inclination of 15° and oriented South. The project includes string inverters and monocrystalline modules. The plant will be connected to the grid via a 2km cable to a nearby sub-station.
Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) is the sole lender to the project and will provide €29 million of the estimated €35,4 million development close. Financial close (transfer of funds from the lender to borrower) is expected by the second quarter of 2021.
Paromita Chatterjee, investment director at EIAF manager Ninety One, commented: “Harnessing Burkina Faso’s sunshine to improve its future prospects will bring many benefits to the country and make an important contribution to fighting global warming. This project is a perfect example of how EAIF’s public-private partnership model can have lasting economic, social and environmental impacts while mobilising private capital and enterprise to create new infrastructure.”
RE project for Burkina Faso could mean more than than just electricity
Burkina Faso has a population of nearly 20 million people but more than 40% of its people live below the poverty line. The country has one of the world’s lowest rates of electrification. Because of a shortage of installed energy generation capacity, Burkina Faso needs to import electricity from neighbouring states.
Urbanisation, structural changes to the economy and recent strong GDP growth have increased demand for energy. Currently relying mainly on fossil-fueled power stations, the country has embarked on a programme of attracting private capital and expertise to build renewable energy capacity.
The Urbasolar project is one of the first of the new green energy plants. Around 280MW is expected to be commissioned over the next three years.
Urbasolar was selected as the developer following a competitive tender process run by SONABEL. They will build and operate the plant and construction is forecast to be completed within 18 months.
Commenting on the project, Arnaud Mine, president of Urbasolar and Emmanuel Kaboré, Urbasolar Regional Head – West Africa, said: “As a European expert in solar power, the Urbasolar group is conscious of its role in developing this energy source in Africa, notably in Burkina Faso, where we already operate. It is Urbasolar’s conviction that the solar power sector offers solutions to numerous economic, environmental and social issues.
“Therefore, in addition to providing green energy, this project also includes a number of other measures such as education regarding solar technology, the provision of study grants and a microfinancing program for local women, as well as support for the healthcare system.”
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EIAF) provides a variety of debt products to infrastructure projects promoted mainly by private sector businesses in Africa and parts of the Levant. The EAIF is part the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).