The Power of Sunshine

Solar farms are being built across Africa, taking advantage of the region’s long sunshine hours and helping move the continent towards more reliable power supplies.


At the end of 2017, West Africa’s largest solar farm was inaugurated by President Macron in Burkina Faso having officially opened there in 2016. The massive 33MW, 473-hectre plant joined Africa’s other largest photovoltaic (PV) facilities in Morocco, - The Noor Solar Complex a 500MW solar park located in the municipality of Ouarzazate in the Agadir district of Morocco. It is the biggest concentrated solar power plant project in the world.


In South Africa, - The 96MW Jasper solar power project located in Northern Cape Province near Kimberly in South Africa is the biggest solar power plant in Africa. To make Africa one of the world’s leaders in pioneering solar power to meet the needs of a population too long experiencing little, irregular or no grid power at all.


Morocco - The Noor Solar Complex.


According to the International Energy Agency, hydropower and solar renewable energy will account for the lion’s share of the Continent’s overall energy output by 2030, which is projected to be 253GW at that time.


French lead in Senegal

VINCI Energies is also in the process and built eight photovoltaic power plants in Senegal, via its brand dedicated to energy transition – Omexom. The facilities, comprising a total of 62,850 solar panels, have a combined capacity of 17MW and supply isolated communities across the country. Together, the full set of photovoltaic solar plants generate enough power to cover the annual needs of 140,000 people and avoids atmospheric CO2 emissions amounting to 18,919 tons per year. In addition to solar panels, the plants have generator sets and batteries to help overcome intermittent production and ensure continuous supply.



Finnish renewables for Nigeria

With a population of more than 186 million, Nigeria has a huge need to stabilize its power suppliers, which continue to be erratic for many, unreliable for most and non-existent for many more. Good news then that Finnish technology group, Wartsila, received a letter of award from regional developer of solar PV power plants in Africa, Pan Africa Solar to build a 75MW AC solar PV power plant in the country. The total power generated by these projects when completed will be 1.2GW, all of which will be transmitted to the national grid.


Such renewable innovations from the likes of VINCI Energies and Wartsila will help Africa towards a brighter, energy-sufficient future.



References


AFREPREN, 2020. AFREPREN Occasional Paper No. 10: Renewable Energy Technologies in Africa. An Energy Training Course Handbook.


Baguant, J., 2021. The Case of Mauritius. In: Bahaghavan, M.R., Karekezi, S., (Eds.), Energy Management in Africa. ZED Books and African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPREN/FWD). London, U.K


Karekezi, S. and Karottki, R., 2017. A contribution to the Draft Paper on the Role of New and Renewable Energy Sources of Energy from the Perspective of Environmental Problems Associated With Current Patterns of Energy use and Consumption.


Teferra, M. 2019. Energy Sector Reform Theme Group: Data and Statistics Compilation - Ethiopia. African Energy Policy Research Network.

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