Excitement as Togo commissions first utility-scale solar plant

Solar plant - cleanbuild

Excitement as Togo commissions first utility-scale solar plant

AMEA Power has announced the official commissioning of its 50MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Blitta, Togo, making it the country’s first utility-scale renewable energy project to be developed by an Independent Power Producer (IPP).

The solar plant was built by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of AMEA Power (also a subsidiary of UAE-based VC Al Nowais Investment), and has commenced official operations after an 18 months period between the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Named Sheik Mohamed Bin Zayed after the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the solar plant is located at a 267km distance from Lomé, Togo’s capital with a planned production of almost 90,255 MWh of power per year.

As one of the largest solar PV IPP plants in West Africa, the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant is expected to supply power to about 158,333 households yearly while 9% of the energy generated will be channeled into the local Blitta distribution network, ensuring that there is enough power to meet demand in the area.

The power plant will be operational for 25 years under AMEA Togo Solar and is projected to eliminate over 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions throughout its duration period.

Apart from the environmental benefits, the solar plant will further Togo’s aim to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 and to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 50%.

The project was funded by concessional loans obtained from the West African Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

Having been pre-funded on the balance sheet and then refinanced, the unique funding model is indicative of the level of project certainty created by the NDP’s regulatory framework.

This, in effect, provided AMEA Power with the necessary level of assurance and comfort to embark on the project’s execution well in advance of the financing being arranged.

In the words of the Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic, Mila Aziable, the PV plant is an excellent example of a successful Public-Private Partnership in Africa, with AMEA Power deploying Togo’s committed implementation unit and favorable investment climate to pre-fund a large-scale renewable energy project on the balance sheet.

Expressing his excitement on the launch of the solar plant, Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, said “Togo was an obvious choice for AMEA Power’s first operational power plant in Africa, with it being an important trade hub in West Africa, along with the government’s progressive regulatory framework for renewable energy projects, which was key in ensuring the completion of the project in a fast, efficient, and responsible manner.”

One of the benefits of renewable energy is the creation of employment opportunities for local talents. To that end, the construction of the power plant helped to create jobs, with 80% of natives employed as plant workers.

AMEA Power also launched an internship program to train 36 engineering students from various technical institutions in Togo to the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant.

This gives them the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned and to develop their practical skills and interest in the renewable energy sector.

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