An agreement to Build-Own-and-Operate West Africa’s first utility-scale solar power plant was signed today by Norwegian company Scatec Solar (http://www.scatecsolar.com ) and its partners, the Malian Ministry of Energy and Water and Electricité du Mali (EDM), the electricity utility of Mali.
To be located near the ancient city of Segou in South-East Mali, 240 kms from Bamako, the 33 MW solar project is being developed in partnership with IFC InfraVentures and the local developer Africa Power 1.
Speaking on the occasion, the Malian Minister of Energy and Water, Mr. Mamadou Frankaly Keita said “This landmark agreement signals the Government’s commitment to meet the nation’s growing energy demand and to provide clean, renewable and affordable energy to our people”.
Scatec Solar (‘SSO) will own 50 percent of the power plant and World Bank’s project development fund, IFC InfraVentures will hold 32.5 percent, while the local project development company, Africa Power 1, headed by Dr Ibrahim Togola, will hold 17.5 percent. Scatec Solar will construct the plant, and in addition provide operation and maintenance services after the plant is connected to the grid.
“One of the pillars of the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Mali is to increase access to energy, a development fundamental. IFC InfraVentures’ partnership with Scatec Solar and Africa Power 1 helps advance this strategy through Scatec Segou, part of a series of renewable energy projects we are developing in the country,” said Alain Ebobisse, Global Head of IFC InfraVentures.
Annual production from the 33 MW solar power plant is estimated to be 60,000 Megawatts hour (MWh). Theground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar plant will deploy approximately 130,000 PV modules on a fixed tilt system and will connect to an existing transmission line.
During the construction phase, the project will provide 200 local jobs. As part of Scatec’s corporate philosophy, special emphasis will be put on transferring technical expertise to the local community.
In an era of climate change concerns, the 33 MW Segou power plant is an important initiative to reduce carbon emissions by about 46,000 tons once completed. Scatec Solar and EDM will jointly register the project with the United Nations CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) under Scatec Solar’s program for solar projects in Africa.
The project with a total cost of Euro 52 million is to be financed through 45% senior project finance debt. IFC InfraVentures will arrange the Debt for a total amount of Euro 23 million.
Further, the project has already been granted a concessional loan that will cover 30% of the Capex from Climate Investment Fund through the program “Scaling Up Renewable energy in Low Income Countries Program” (SREP). The remaining 25% is provided as equity by the project partners. Financial close is expected before the end of this year.