SIERRA LEONE: Proparco, BII, FMO and Frontier finance $52m for 4 solar farms

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SIERRA LEONE: Proparco, BII and FMO and Frontier finance $52m for 4 solar farms © Proparco

On the sidelines of the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP28), which ends this Tuesday 12 December 2023 in Dubai, four investment companies have announced a $52 million financing package for four solar photovoltaic power plants in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s installed solar capacity could increase over the next few years. That, at any rate, is the aim of Planet One, which has teamed up with Frontier Energy to develop 50 MW of installed capacity in this West African country. On the sidelines of COP28, which ends this Tuesday 12 December 2023 in Dubai, several international financial institutions have decided to finance the project to the tune of $52 million.

In addition to Frontier Energy, the funds will be raised by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), British International Investment (BII) and Proparco, the private sector financing arm of French Development Agency (AFD). “The 50 MW solar project in Sierra Leone is a testament to the development and execution capabilities of Frontier and Planet One. Despite challenging conditions, we have delivered on our joint commitment to provide stable, clean and affordable electricity,” says Lars Tejlgaard Jensen, Frontier Energy’s Chief Investment Officer and Partner.

The construction of four solar photovoltaic power plants

According to him, the project will benefit urban and rural consumers, “as well as commercial and industrial entities, thereby promoting solid growth in economic activities in several regions”. At present, almost 80% of Sierra Leone’s population still has no access to electricity. According to Proparco, the development of an installed capacity of 50 MW will increase domestic electricity supply by 30% in this West African country.

Read also- SIERRA LEONE: the Baoma 1 solar PV power plant, the fruit of a PPP, comes on stream

The project is being developed on four sites. The largest solar plant, with a capacity of 25 MWp, will be built in Makoth and will be connected to the 161 kV Freetown/Bambuna transmission line to supply electricity to the capital Freetown. The BO/Kenema (12 MW), Kono (10 MW) and Port Loko (4.5 MW) solar power plants will supply electricity directly to the Bo, Port Loko and Koidu regions.

The electricity produced will be sold to the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), which provides the public service in Sierra Leone. The country’s installed electricity capacity per capita is one of the lowest in the world, with around 105 MW available for a population of more than 7 million in 2018. According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), electricity consumption in the country is dominated by biomass, which accounts for around 80% of the energy used. The main source of energy from biomass is firewood, followed by charcoal.

Jean Marie Takouleu


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