Burkina Faso has launched the construction of a 33 megawatts (MW) solar power plant at a cost of 47.5 million euros ($53.4m) on Thursday making it the largest in the Sahel region which boasts of abundant sunlight yet inadequate electricity supply.
Funding for the project is from European Union grant of 25 million euros and a loan of 22.5 million euros from the French Development Agency (AFD).
The plant being constructed in the Zagtouli village near the capital Ouagadougou, will have 129,600 solar panels installed over a total area of 60 hectares, according to Burkinabe authorities.
The Zagtouli solar power paves the way for development of renewable energy in Burkina Faso which is one of the commitments made at COP 21 in Paris.
French company Le Cegelec, a subsidiary of French group Vinci, is in charge of the construction which will be completed in 14 months.
“The Zagtouli solar power paves the way for development of renewable energy in Burkina Faso which is one of the commitments made at COP 21 in Paris,” the Burkinabe Minister of Energy, Mines and Careers, Alpha Oumar Dissa said.
About 80% of the 19 million population of Burkina Faso are without electricity and the rest experience intermittent power cuts which affect the economy greatly.
The country plans to add an additional 100MW of solar energy to its national grid which produces 200MW of power.