Togo has inaugurated the largest solar plant in West Africa, in a push to increase access to electricity and develop renewables in the small coastal country.
The 50 megawatt facility, located in central Togo, will provide power to more than 158,000 households and save more than one million tonnes of CO2 emissions, Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe said on Twitter late Tuesday.
“This project is the fruit of our ambition to bring universal access to electricity and provide clean and renewable energy to all.”
“I am thrilled it was done in record time” (18 months), he added.
The plant was built in Blitta, 267 kilometres (165 miles) north of the capital Lome, by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of Dubai-based AMEA Power.
It hosts 127,344 solar panels expected to produce 90.255 megawatt hours (MWh) of power per year.
Named after the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the project received more than 35 billion CFA francs ($63.7 million) in loans from the West African Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
Capacity for an additional 20 MW is scheduled to be built on the same site by the end of the year.
Only about 52% of people in the West African country had access to electricity in 2019, according to figures seen by Reuters.
AMEA will operate the plant for 25 years, helping Togo achieve its plans to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, the company said. It will also increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 50%.
Togo, which imports more than half of its energy from Nigeria and Ghana, is banking on solar power to develop access to electricity for its eight million residents.