Boundiali Solar Plant Powers Up, Lights 35,000 Homes in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire's leap towards renewable energy with new solar project

by Adenike Adeodun

Côte d’Ivoire recently celebrated the launch of a significant renewable energy milestone with the inauguration of a new solar power plant in Boundiali, located in the northern part of the country. This development is poised to supply up to 37MW of power, enough to sustain electricity to approximately 35,000 homes, marking a pivotal advancement in the nation’s energy sector. The official unveiling of the plant was presided over by Ivorian Prime Minister Beugré Mambé and German Parliamentary State Secretary Bärbel Kofler, reflecting a collaborative international effort.

The project, which commenced power production in June 2023, received substantial financial backing from KfW Development Bank. The bank contributed €37 million to the endeavor, comprising a €27 million loan from the German Federal Government and a €10 million grant from the European Union. This investment underscores the commitment of both local and international stakeholders to fostering sustainable energy solutions in West Africa.

Constructed by Eiffage Energie Système and its subsidiary RMT, the Boundiali solar photovoltaic (PV) plant spans over 38 hectares of land. Prior to construction, extensive preparation was necessary, including clearing undergrowth, establishing operational infrastructures, and laying down an asphalt access road. The plant boasts nearly 70,000 solar modules and incorporates a 10MW Energy Storage System (ESS) provided by Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies. This ESS is designed to stabilize the energy output from the solar panels, ensuring the plant’s reliable production capacity of 64 GWh/year while also reducing CO2 emissions by 27,000 tonnes annually.

With its 10MWh battery energy storage system, the Boundiali plant represents a significant step towards smoothing the intermittency of solar power, thereby bolstering the reliability and efficiency of renewable energy within the national grid. Eiffage Energie Système’s installation of two high-capacity transformers and the extension of the existing source substation further facilitates the seamless integration of solar-generated electricity into Côte d’Ivoire’s energy mix.

The environmental implications of this project are profound, with an estimated annual reduction of 35,000 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions. This initiative is part of Côte d’Ivoire’s broader strategy to combat climate change and shift towards a greener energy portfolio, aiming to increase the share of renewable energies in its electricity supply to 45% by 2030. Currently, gas remains the predominant energy source in the country, accounting for over 60% of its energy production, while hydropower contributes more than 30%.

The Boundiali solar power plant is not only a testament to Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to renewable energy but also serves as a beacon for future solar projects in the region. The inauguration coincided with the laying of the foundation stone for an expansion project, which will elevate the plant’s capacity to 83 MWp, positioning it as the largest solar facility in West Africa upon its completion next year.

This expansion, anticipated to attract private investors, demonstrates the technical and financial viability of large-scale solar projects in Côte d’Ivoire and similar nations. The Boundiali plant’s success is a significant indicator of the potential for renewable energy development in Africa, offering a sustainable and scalable model for addressing energy needs and environmental challenges.

As Côte d’Ivoire progresses with its ambitious renewable energy goals, the Boundiali solar power plant stands as a pivotal achievement in the region’s transition towards sustainable and renewable energy sources. This project not only enhances the national grid’s capacity with clean, sustainable power but also sets a precedent for future renewable energy initiatives across West Africa, highlighting the critical role of international cooperation and investment in driving global progress towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Source: ESI Africa

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