Burkina Faso secures US$34m from EAIF for the construction of 30MW solar plant

BURKINA FASO – Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) has provided US$34.59 million to Burkina Faso to support the construction of 30MW solar plant which will supply national grid.

EAIF, a member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is lending the project’s developer, Urbasolar SAS, 80% of the capital needed for the construction of the facility which is estimated to have a US$42.22 million development cost.

EAIF is the sole lender to the project, its 20th clean energy project, providing US$34.59 million of the estimated Financial close (the transfer of funds from lender to borrower) is expected by the second quarter of the year. 

EAIF has now supported 20 renewable energy projects across Africa. It has invested US$350 million of loans to private sector developers, bringing Africa 825MW of clean, renewable energy.

“Therefore, in addition to providing green energy, this project also includes a number of other measures such as education regarding solar technology, the provision of study grants and a microfinancing program for local women, as well as support for the healthcare system.”

Arnaud Mine – President, Urbasolar

“Harnessing Burkina Faso’s sunshine to improve its future prospects will bring many benefits to the country and make an important contribution to fighting global warming,” Paromita Chatterjee, an Investment Director at EAIF’s managers, Ninety One, said.

“This project is a perfect example of how EAIF’s public private partnership model can have lasting economic, social and environmental impacts while mobilising private capital and enterprise to create new infrastructure.”

Located some 250km south east of the nation’s capital city of Ouagadougou, near the town of Pâ, the new solar energy plant will supply all the electricity it produces to Burkina Faso’s national power utility, La Société National D’électricité Du Burkina Faso (SONABEL).

“As a European expert in solar power, the Urbasolar group is conscious of its role in developing this energy source in Africa, notably in Burkina Faso, where we already operate. It is Urbasolar’s conviction that the solar power sector offers solutions to numerous economic, environmental and social issues,” Arnaud Mine, president of Urbasolar and Emmanuel Kaboré, Urbasolar Regional Head – West Africa, said.

“Therefore, in addition to providing green energy, this project also includes a number of other measures such as education regarding solar technology, the provision of study grants and a microfinancing program for local women, as well as support for the healthcare system.”

Arnaud said that the project is the result of the willingness of the Burkinabé president, Rock Marc Christian KABORE, and the government to increase the country’s energy supply by promoting private investment through public-private partnership.

“We are pleased to be able to work alongside the government and the national energy utility, SONABEL, to reach the goal of generating 200 MW of energy via solar power plants by 2021, the strategy established by Dr Bachir Ismael OUEDRAOGO, Minister of Energy, Mines and Quarries,” he said.

Currently relying mainly on fossil fueled power stations, Burkina Faso has embarked on a programme of attracting private capital and expertise to build renewable energy capacity. The Urbasolar project is one of the first of the new green energy plants. Around 280MW is expected to be commissioned over the next three years.

Urbasolar was selected as the developer following a competitive tender process run by SONABEL. Urbasolar will build and operate the plant and construction is forecast to be completed within 18 months.

In July 2019, Urbasolar was acquired by AXPO, a Swiss utility and Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy.

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