Chad solar scheme set to increase national generating capacity 150%

The Saharan state of Chad, which presently supplies just 4% of its population with mains electricity, has signed an agreement with Dubai energy company Amea Power to build a 120MW solar farm, more than doubling the country’s present installed capacity of 48MW.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Hussain Nowais, Amea’s chairman, and Mahamat Hamid Koua, Chad’s minister of petroleum and energy. It is expected to be installed near the Chadian capital of N’Djamena.

The agreement follows a number of others with foreign companies intended to boost electricity generation, relieving Chad’s 14 million people of the need to run expensive and polluting diesel and fuel-oil generators. Even in cities only 14% of people have power.

The largest deal was signed in July last year between Chad and Almaden Emirates Fortune Power, which is a joint venture between Chinese solar panel maker Almaden and Dubai investment group Emirates Fortune. That scheme is intended to have a capacity of between 200MW and 400MW.

Also in July, the African Development Bank funded the construct of the 32MW Starsol plant near N’Djamena, to be built by developer NewSolar Invest and infrastructure and renewable energy project financier Arborescence Capital, both based in Paris, and engineering group Ceic Monaco.

The finance included funds for the improvement of the interconnection line between Chad and Cameroon, and the rehabilitation of the generation assets of the country’s power utility, National Electricity Company (SNE).

In August a consortium including London-based InfraCo Africa and France’s Smart Energies International signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with SNE for a 60MW solar project.

Image: N’Djamena from space. About 14% of Chad’s urban population have mains electricity (Nasa)

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