Two solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, with a combined capacity of 60 MW and located in Kael and Kahone, in western Senegal, launched operations in May.
The plants were financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Investment Bank and French development finance institution Proparco, under the World Bank Group's Scaling Solar programme.
The plants were built by French energy company Engie and Paris-based investment and asset management company Meridiam.
Although the proportion of Senegalese people with access to electricity has increased sharply over the past 30 years, nearly a quarter of the population still lacks access.
Senegal´s power sector has been historically reliant on costly fuel imports, with about 80% of its energy mix being oil-based.
The financing package for the plants includes senior loans worth €38-million from the IFC, the Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Programme, the European Investment Bank and Proparco. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a member of the World Bank Group, issued €6.9-million in guarantees to support the plants, providing protection against non-commercial risks for a duration of up to 15 years.
“Completion of the Kahone and Kael solar plants is a testament to the success of the Scaling Solar programme. From inception to operation, it laid the groundwork for the government to attract world-class investors, enable competition and achieve record low prices for solar power.
"This project has created a market that demonstrates the possibility for growing solar investment across the region,” says IFC Middle East and Africa VP Sérgio Pimenta.
Senegal is the second country to bring Scaling Solar-backed PV projects to the operational stage.
In March 2019, the first solar plant financed and tendered under the Scaling Solar programme was inaugurated in Zambia.
The Scaling Solar programme continues to grow as it supports projects in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Togo, and Uzbekistan that are at various stages of development.