Senegal: Scaling Solar – Two PV Plants bring clean energy to more than 500,000

(Source: European Investment Bank)

Nearly 540,000 people in Senegal will get access to clean and affordable power following the launch of two solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, financed by IFC, the European Investment Bank and Proparco, under the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar program.

The two plants that launched operations last month are located in Kael and Kahone in Western Senegal and have a total capacity of 60MWac. They will provide energy at tariffs of 3.98 and 3.80 Euro cents per kilowatt hour, respectively – one of the lowest prices for electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa – and will help avoid 89,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

The two plants are sponsored by Engie, Meridiam, and the Senegalese Sovereign Wealth Fund for Strategic Investments (FONSIS). The competitive tendering was led by Senegal’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRSE).

Although the proportion of Senegalese people with access to electricity has increased sharply over the past 30 years, nearly a quarter of the population still lacks access. Senegal´s power sector has been historically reliant on costly fuel imports, with about 80 percent of its energy mix being oil-based.

“The Kael and Kahone solar power plants exemplify our commitment to supporting Senegal’s transition to cleaner, more affordable energy, while creating business opportunities for local communities. These two projects are expected to provide the equivalent of 540,000 people with cheap, renewable electricity. This is a record in sub-Saharan Africa, which will support more than 400 direct and indirect local jobs”, said Mathieu Peller, COO of Méridiam Afrique.

The financing package of the plants includes senior loans worth €38 million from IFC, the Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Program, the European Investment Bank, and French development finance institution Proparco. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, issued €6.9 million in guarantees to support the plants, providing protection against non-commercial risks for a duration of up to 15 years.

The Kahone and Kael projects were implemented in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Power Africathe Government of the NetherlandsThe Rockefeller Foundation, and The Infrastructure Development Collaboration Partnership Fund (DevCo)

“Completion of the Kahone and Kael solar plants is a testament to the success of the Scaling Solar program,” said Sérgio Pimenta, the Vice-President of IFC for the Middle East and Africa. “From inception to operation, the program laid the groundwork for the government to attract world-class investors, enable competition and achieve record low prices for solar power. This project has created a market that demonstrates the possibility for growing solar investment across the region.”

“Access to reliable, affordable and clean energy is crucial for economic and social development,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President. “The close cooperation between the European Investment Bank, African and international partners through Scaling Solar is unlocking investment to harness solar energy in Senegal and provides a model for accelerating green transition in Africa.”

“Proparco is delighted with the successful commissioning of the Kahone and Kael solar power plants, which constitutes a new milestone in Senegal’s low carbon transition. The price of the electricity produced by these projects is one of the cheapest in sub-Saharan Africa. This demonstrates the great potential of solar energy in Senegal and shows the ability of development finance institutions, such as Proparco, to contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the continent,” said Gregory Clemente, CEO of Proparco.

Senegal is the second country to bring Scaling Solar-backed PV projects to the operational stage. In March 2019, the first solar plant financed and tendered under the Scaling Solar program was inaugurated in Zambia. The Scaling Solar program continues to grow as it supports projects in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Togo, and Uzbekistan currently at various stages of development.

Background information

About Scaling Solar

Scaling Solar is a World Bank Group program that makes it easier for governments to quickly procure and develop large solar projects with private financing. It includes a package of expert advice, fully templated documents, pre-approved financing, insurance products, and guarantees. Scaling Solar is developed in partnership with the Government of Denmark, the Government of Korea, the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of the United Kingdom, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Power Africa, and The Private Infrastructure Development Group.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

About Proparco

Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for over 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education. Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change. For a World in Common.

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