Masdar launches largest solar PV plant in Africa

By Editor


Greentech Lead Africa: Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has launched 15-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The $31.99 million utility-scale solar power plant is located in the capital city of Nouakchott and is the largest solar PV plant in Africa. It will account for 10 percent of Mauritania’s energy capacity and will displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Mauritania’s electricity grid, which is powered mostly by expensive diesel generators, currently has an installed capacity of only 144 megawatts, resulting in severe energy shortages. With energy demand increasing by 12 percent annually, the addition of solar power will help meet future electricity shortfalls and supply the energy demand of approximately 10,000 homes.

Masdar’s solar PV plant consists of 29,826 micromorph thin-film panels.

The United Arab Emirates has a long history of reinvesting its hydrocarbon wealth into helping developing countries promote economic development and alleviate poverty.

With the price of renewable energy technologies falling, solar and wind power are becoming economically viable solutions to improving energy security and access. Domestically generated renewable energy is clean, sustainable and helps developing nations insulate themselves from volatile fuel prices, the company said.

With strong solar and wind energy resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant portion of its electricity capacity from sustainable and reliable sources of energy.

According to a recent report from Pew Research, South Africa was the fastest-growing renewable energy market in the G-20, with investment growing from less than $ 30 million in 2011, to $5.5 billion in 2012– a staggering 20,500 percent increase.

“With energy demand expected to nearly double by 2030, renewable energy will play an increasingly important role, especially in countries where demand is rapidly outstripping supply,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar.

Masdar is also engaged in developing other renewable projects including Seychelles project, 6-megawatt wind farm; a project in Afghanistan that will supply 600 residences with off-grid solar PV; and a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic facility on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga.

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