Cote d’Ivoire is looking to harness more solar energy to support its overburdened electricity grid.
A subsidiary of Morocco’s Nova Power is to build a 25-MW solar plant in the north of the country, government spokesman Bruno Kone said last week, cited by Reuters.
The US$40 million project, to be built by Korhogo Solaire, a subsidiary of Nova Power, could be operational by 2018,
The new plant will be built in Banguebogo, 570 km north of Abidjan, and will sell electricity to state-owned utility Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricite (CIE).
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Kone told reporters that it would be one of the first solar power plants in the country which, until now, has depended mostly on thermal-based generation.
“The realisation of this...plant will improve the balance of the energy mix, which requires an increasingly strong integration of renewable energy,” he said.
The country uses its offshore gas deposits to help fuel power generation as well as to buy in imported fuel supplies.
Demand for electricity is rising fast, however, as the Ivorian economy continues to prosper.
The world’s leading cocoa producer, Cote d’Ivoire is one of West Africa’s star performers at present, although this has strained the power sector. Electricity demand is growing at about 10% annually.
The country also exports electricity across the region to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Togo, and parts of Liberia.
The new solar power plant will help lift overall production as the government seeks to more or less double output to 4,000 MW by 2020.
China Energy Engineering Corp. is currently leading the construction of the Songon TPP, whose one steam and two gas turbines will produce 372 MW of power. At the end of last year, plans also emerged for two 350-MW coal-fired TPPs in the western cocoa town of San Pedro, to come on stream in 2020 and 2021, although financing is yet to be secured for these projects.