French Development Agency Issues Tender for Benin’s First Solar Park

Benin has seen energy demand grow considerably over the past year.
Benin has seen energy demand grow considerably over the past year. (SBEE)

Benin - The French Development Agency (AFD) has issued an expression of interest for the construction of a 25 MW solar power project in Benin. The plant will be located in Onigbolo, in the Plateau Department, southern Benin, and will be the country’s first ground-mounted solar park.

Interested developers must send their bids by February 19.

The solar facility will deliver power to the country’s state-owned utility, SBEE under a long-term PPA.

The project is being financed by the EU and AFD with around €60 million. The French agency is providing around 80% of financing, while the EU is responsible for the remaining funds.

Benin is currently seeking to improve its weak power system. The country imports around 80% of the power it consumes from neighbouring countries Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. On top of this, only a third of its population currently has access to electricity.

In order to help Benin’s government improve power supply, the World Bank approved a $60 million credit facility in June 2017, and to be used for the operational performance of SBEE.

Benin has seen energy demand grow considerably over the past year, as a result of economic growth, urbanization and an increase in population. The country, however, has a current power generation capacity of just 140 MW, with a predominance of fuel biomass.

“The energy sector’s difficulties have worsened over the past few years, and the issue of regular supply and cost of electric power increasingly seems to be a major obstacle to the country’s inclusive and sustainable growth,” the African Development Bank (AFDB) stressed in a recent report on Benin.

The local government is hoping to improve power shortages through a new plan aimed at bringing online around 150 MW of new generation capacity, which includes the 25 MW project in Onigbolo.

Source: pv magazine