First Utility Scale Solar PV Plant Commissioned in Niger

  • The 7 MW solar farm is located near Malbaza, a rural village in central Niger
  • The project is part of a plan to deploy 100 MW of solar by 2021
  • The project has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and the minister of energy Amina Moumouni according to Nigelec.

Niger has announced the commissioned of the country’s first solar power plant, according to a statement released by local state-owned utility Nigelec. The 7 MW solar farm is located near Malbaza, a rural village in central Niger, and is the result of a project developed under the “Renaissance Program Act II”, which has received support from the Indian government.

The project has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and the minister of energy Amina Moumouni according to Nigelec. “We are back in the economic modernization, and our energy independence is no longer a dream,” said the head of government, noting that this first experiment would be continued with the assistance of Niger’s partners. The PV plant will cover the electricity needs of around 30,000 households in the departments of Madaoua, Malbaza and Konni.

NIGELEC is the Parastatal electric power generation and transmission utility in Niger. It is majority owned by the Government of Niger and was founded in 1968. In 2006 NIGELEC had 178964 subscribers and 300 electrified centers. The NIGELEC management is overseen by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The project is part of a plan to deploy 100 MW of solar by 2021, which includes a recently streamlined 20 MW project, and four more plants in Dosso (10 MW), Maradi (20 MW), Niamey-Gorou Banda (30 MW) and Malbaza (13 MW).Also included is the Agadez (North) hybrid power station intended to supply the unserved rural areas (13 MW solar and 60 MW diesel).

Niger currently has one of the lowest rates of access to power in Africa. Among its population of around 20 million people, only around 15% has access to electricity. Still relying mainly on power imports from neighboring Nigeria, the country has an installed power generation capacity of just 140 MW. This means that once its solar plans are finalized, the country will run on 40% renewable energy generation.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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