A 50MW solar PV plant in Togo will be expanded to 70MW capacity, creating West Africa’s biggest PV project, while grid-scale battery storage will also be added at the site.
The announcement was made yesterday by Dubai-based developer, owner and operator of renewable energy assets AMEA Power, which developed the 50MW Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar Power Plant.
The project came about as AMEA Power signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Togo’s national agency for public distribution and sale of electricity, La Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET).
Ground was broken and the first phases got underway with a ceremony attended by Togolese president Faure E. Gnassingbe in February 2020, as reported by our sister site PV Tech at the time. An inauguration took place after commissioning in June 2021. Solar PV modules for the plant were supplied by Tier 1 manufacturer Jinko Solar.
The first power plant in the country developed and brought online by an independent power producer (IPP), AMEA Power noted that the development took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and was completed within 18 months.
This week, a financing agreement for the next stages of the project was signed. In addition to the 20MW PV expansion, a 4MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) will be added at Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar Power Plant.
Under terms of the agreement, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development’s (ADFD’s) Abu Dhabi Exports Office (ADEO) is going to provide a US$25 million loan to Togo’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.
That loan will support the PV capacity expansion and battery storage installation. AMEA Power said construction will be carried out by its AMEA Technical Services subsidiary. AMEA Technical Services is currently the solar PV plant’s operations and maintenance (O&M) provider.
The project supports Togo’s aim of enabling universal access to electricity in the country and raising its share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 50% by 2030 under its National Development Plan.
According to statistics collected by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and published in October 2021, prior to the 50MW plant coming online Togo had less than a megawatt of installed solar capacity, versus 100MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) and other fuel oils, 67MW hydroelectric, 48MW diesel and 20MW natural gas.
Its total generation capacity stood at about 235MW, while access to electricity was available for just 43% of the population. While 79% of people in urban areas had access, that was the case for just 16% of the rural population.
Last year in June, Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms (AIIP), a Pan-African infrastructure development group, opened a tender for a 390MW PV plant with 200MW BESS to be built at a mixed use industrial park near Togo’s capital Lomé. The project would be strategically located to support industrial and logistics centres serving West Africa through the country’s coastal region, AIIP said.