23 August 2014, Sweetcrude, Houston – The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved a US $950,000 grant for the development of the WINDIGA 20 MW Solar PV power plant in Burkina Faso. The SEFA project preparation grant will support outstanding advisory activities required for financial close, including support for the structuring of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a period of 25 years with SONABEL, the national public utility.
This solar project is a private sector-led Independent Power Producer (IPP) scheme to design, construct and operate the solar power plant to be located in the Boucle du Mouhoun area in the Western part of the country. The project will use polycrystalline photovoltaic (PV) panels installed over 40 hectares and will have an envisaged operational life of 25 years and will be connected to the national grid operated by SONABEL.
The energy demand in Burkina Faso has increased at an annual rate of over 10% in the last five years and resulted in a widening supply gap across the country. According to SONABEL activities’ report, the installed capacity as of 2013 equalled 247 MW, out of which 215 MW is supplied by thermal power. Moreover, hydropower in the country has limited potential and is excessively dependent on irregular rainfall pattern. Unless new energy sources are harnessed to satisfy demand, the country will have to continue relying significantly on thermal plants, hydroelectricity and variable energy supply from the neighbouring countries, mainly from the Ivory Coast.
This project will thus contribute to the Government of Burkina Faso’s ambition to significantly develop the solar energy potential with the goal of reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation and help address the country’s projected energy shortfall. In addition, it will contribute to lowering the average price of electricity generated in the country.
Finally, the WINDIGA project will be the first private sector infrastructure operation in the country and one of the first Solar PV IPPs funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB). This underscores the Bank’s commitment to providing “green” infrastructure with a focus on low-income member countries as per its new Strategy 2013-2022.