Senegal: Scaling Solar plants to start operating this month

24 May 2021

The 35MWp Kahone and 25MWp Kael solar PV plants procured through the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme in Senegal will be commissioned this month, Engie Africa’s head of communications Katja Damman told African Energy. The projects are part of utility Société Nationale d’Electricité du Sénégal’s (Senelec) commitment to gas and renewables (AE 437/11).

France’s Engie and asset manager Meridiam, alongside Senegal’s sovereign wealth fund Fonds Souverain d’Investissements Stratégiques (Fonsis) were selected as preferred bidders for the projects in October 2017, bidding record low tariffs at €0.038016 ($0.0468)/kWh for Kahone and €0.039831/kWh for Kael in April 2018 (AE 437/11). Engie and Meridiam each hold 40% of equity in the projects and Fonsis 20% (AE 397/10). Both projects, which represent a combined investment of €47.5m ($53m), reached financial close in July 2019, with a €38m debt package provided by the European Investment Bank, the International Finance Corporation and France’s Proparco.

Meridiam West Africa director Mete Saracoglu told African Energy that construction at Kael was completed in February and the plant has been supplying the grid since then; full commercial operation of the plant and associated infrastructure is imminent. Saracoglu said that the Covid-19 pandemic had a limited impact on development of the plant thanks to the procurement of long-lead items prior to lockdowns.

Recently unbundled as part of a US-backed reform package, Senegal’s power market is moving towards a competitive environment for independent power producers (IPPs) to sell to Senelec. Additionally, 70MWh of battery storage is scheduled to begin operating by 2022, which will assist in managing renewable power intermittency.


Image: Kael and Kahone solar PV plants in Senegal. Source: African Energy Live Data

Covid-19 leaves Africa with the least new generation capacity since 2013, with sub-Saharan Africa worst hit

  • An African Energy Live Data update shows that only 7,706MW net new capacity was added in the whole of Africa in 2020, the lowest since 2013
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, saw the lowest capacity growth since 2008, with only 1,584MW added
  • Natural gas was the most popular technology, with a net 3.2GW added, almost exclusively in North Africa, followed by hydropower (911MW), solar (842MW), and wind (829MW)
  • In sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), hydropower was by far the most significant technology, with 911MW added in 2020, followed by 207MW using liquid fossil fuels and around 100MW each from coal, wind, and solar
  • Some bounce-back is expected in 2021.

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