An agreement to Build-Own-and Operate West Africa's first utility-scale solar power plant was signed here today by Scatec Solar 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 33MW 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".
The Oslo-headquartered company's CEO Raymond Carlsen says: "This project is another great milestone for Scatec Solar. After several years of development efforts in the region, we can now move forward with the first utility-scale solar plant in West Africa. The Malian Authorities have demonstrated decisive will to tackle the nagging issue of power supply."
"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.
Dr. Ibrahim Togola, the chairman of Africa Power 1 SA and General Administrator of Scatec Solar West Africa SA says: "Today's event is historic because Mali now becomes the first country to install the largest solar grid-connected power plant in the region. This high-profile joint-venture in which Malian citizens participate will serve as a model to launch the solar era in West Africa."
Annual production from the 33MW solar power plant is estimated to be 60,000MWh. The ground-mounted PV solar plant will deploy approximately 130,000 PV modules on a fixed tilt system and will connect to an existing transmission line. The power generated from the plant represents five percent of Mali's total electricity consumption, equal to the electricity consumption of 60,000 households. During the construction phase, the project will provide 200 local jobs.
In an era of climate change concerns, the 33MW Segou solar power plant is an important initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the power sector in West Africa. When completed, the plant will reduce CO2 emissions by about 46 000 tons.