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Scatec leasing modular solar-plus-storage to utility company in Cameroon

A pilot deployment of the Release by Scatec solution. Image: Scatec.

Two solar-plus-storage projects in Cameroon will be equipped with modular, pre-assembled generation and battery solutions from Norway-headquartered renewable energy power producer Scatec.

Scatec’s PV and battery energy storage system (BESS) solution, called Release by Scatec, will be installed at sites in Maroua and Guida, in Cameroon’s Grand-North region. The two solar farms have a combined generation capacity of 36MW and will host 20MW / 19MWh of battery storage. 

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Release by Scatec is offered through flexible leases from one-year to long-term agreements, with the company financing the equipment and leasing it at a fixed annual fee, invoiced monthly. The idea is to allow customers to save money on energy costs without having to make large capital investments to buy equipment. 

The president and CEO of a mining company in Mexico, which entered a lease agreement for a solar-only 8.5MW Release by Scatec plant in April, said full payback of the solar plant is expected within about seven years. 

With the solutions coming pre-assembled, Scatec claims a small team can install 1-2MW of solar per week and solar projects can be commissioned within six months. Single axis solar trackers and bifacial PV modules are used, while installed projects are monitored remotely from a Scatec Control and Monitoring Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The systems are also redeployable elsewhere as required and can be expanded to add more solar or battery capacity at a later date. 

The customer, ENEO, is partially state-owned by the government of Cameroon, which has a 44% stake in the company, along with being 5% owned by its employees. 51% of its share capital held by Actis, a global sustainable infrastructure investor. ENEO owns and operates over 900MW of generation capacity and serves just under a million customers. 

The solar-plus-storage projects’ development will be financially supported by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). IFC will provide between 10% and 20% of costs. 

“The deal marks our entry into the Cameroonian market, and we are proud to contribute with a cost-efficient and immediate solution to a cleaner and more stable electricity supply in a region suffering from power shortages caused by droughts limiting the supply of hydropower,” Scatec CEO Raymond Carlsen said.

The power plants will be built in phases, with the full capacity expected to be commissioned by the middle of next year. 

“The structure of this project is unique as it ensures supply of clean and reliable energy for governments and utilities, without sovereign guarantee requirements or parliamentary approvals,” Release by Scatec SVP Hans Olav Kvalvaag said.

“We believe this model will be a sound solution for many utilities in Africa struggling with power shortages and grid instabilities.”

On announcing the Cameroon projects earlier this week, Scatec also said it will deploy 7.7MWp of solar PV at a number of sites in Chad, to support decentralised ‘metro-grids’ in five cities operated by ZIZ Energie, a private utility. The Chad projects will come online during 2022. 

In June, Scatec was awarded Preferred Bidder status in a South African government tender for 540MW of solar projects with 225MW / 1,140MWh of battery storage. The power producer had 3.3GW of renewable energy assets in operation around the world as of the end of H1 2021.

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