Senegal to Add 200 MW of Solar Through IFC Program

Senegal plans to build as much as 200 MW of solar power, with at least half of that up and running within two years, after joining an International Finance Corp. (IFC) program designed to promote wider use of clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Senegal is the second country to join the IFC’s Scaling Solar initiative, after Zambia signed on last year, the lender said in a statement Tuesday.

The effort will bring a needed injection of electricity to Senegal, where just over half the population has access to electricity, according to the World Bank. Under the program, the IFC helps organize competitive auctions, offers financing and provides some guarantees against risk.

The first auction, for at least 100 MW of capacity, is expected this year, according to Jamie Fergusson, chief investment officer and global renewables lead at the IFC.

Selected bidders will be offered non-negotiable project documents, including a power-purchase agreement and a government support agreement.

This is a different approach for Senegal, which has tended to negotiate new power projects directly with builders. This can be a time-consuming process and often incurs heavy legal expenses, Fergusson said in an interview Tuesday.

“That is painful indeed for a 400-MW hydro project, which takes five years to build,” he said.

Lead image: Map of Senegal. Credit: Shutterstock.

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