Niger Commissions 30 MWp Solar Power Plant to Boost Electricity Supply

 Niger has commissioned a 30 MWp photovoltaic solar power plant, located approximately 10 kilometers from the capital city of Niamey. The plant, constructed under the auspices of the Nigerien Electricity Company (NIGELEC), is expected to enhance power availability in Niamey and the surrounding regions of Dosso and Tillabéri.

With its 55,608 solar panels, each with a capacity of 540 W, the Gourou Banda solar power plant stands as the largest operational solar photovoltaic park in Niger. The two-year construction project required an investment of €30 million (20 billion CFA francs), with €23.5 million financed in the form of a loan by the French Development Agency (AFD), €5 million provided by the European Union (EU), and the remaining €1.5 million covered by the Nigerien government.

Addressing Electricity Shortages Amidst ECOWAS Sanctions

The commissioning of the Gourou Banda solar power plant is particularly crucial in light of the recent electricity shortages faced by Niger. Following the military coup of 26 July 2023 that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, neighboring Nigeria, which previously supplied 70% of the electricity distributed by NIGELEC, halted its supply to Niger. Additionally, the coup delayed the plant’s commissioning, which was initially scheduled for 25 August 2023, a month after its inauguration by the deposed president.

“Most of the technical staff left the country after the coup. The start-up of the power station was made possible by certain technicians who remained in Niamey,” explained Minister Mahaman Moustapha Barké.

Enhancing Electrification Rates in Niger

Even before the coup, Niger’s electricity coverage remained inadequate. According to the Nigerien National Institute of Statistics (INS), the city of Niamey experienced frequent load shedding despite the expansion of thermal production capacity in 2017. At the national level, electrification stood at 15.72% in 2020, with a significant disparity between rural and urban areas.

The inauguration of the Gourou Banda solar power plant represents a significant step towards addressing Niger’s electricity challenges and improving the lives of its citizens. The plant is expected to reduce load shedding, enhance grid stability, and contribute to the country’s long-term energy security goals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *