Huge solar plant named after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed opens in Africa

The plant is one of the largest in West Africa and will power more than 158,000 homes and businesses

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A huge new solar plant in West Africa named after the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has opened.

The Mohamed bin Zayed complex in Togo will power more than 158,000 homes and small businesses in the eight-million-strong country.

Togo’s first solar plant can produce 50 megawatts of clean energy, enhance the country’s climate goals and reduce its dependence on polluting firewood and charcoal.

This new solar plant will greatly advance the Togolese commitment to combat climate change

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development –  the economic development arm of the UAE Government – provided $15 million (AED55m) for the project in the form of a concessionary loan.

The fund said the 50-megawatt project opened on Tuesday at the 92-hectare site in Blitta, the Centrales region, with Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe attending.

The plant was also supported through a tie-up between the fund and the Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency to support clean energy projects in Africa and around the world.

“We are proud to have this state-of-the-art facility carry the name Mohamed bin Zayed solar complex,” said Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the fund.

“This solar park truly reflects the level of sustainable impact we can achieve through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and Irena renewable energy development programme,” he said.

“This new solar plant will greatly advance the Togolese commitment to combat climate change through a shift to clean energy, while creating new jobs, supporting the local business community and expanding community access to social services.”

Abu Dhabi, 23 June 2021: The Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex, one of the largest solar PV plant in West Africa financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and selected under ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, is now fully operational. The 50-megawatt (MW) project in Blitta, Togo will supply reliable, clean electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the country to receive a sustainable supply of clean energy. Photo: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development
The Mohamed bin Zayed solar park aims to help Togo increase its share of renewable energy to 50 per cent by 2025. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development

The plant will also boost Togolese aspirations to increase its renewable energy share by 50 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030, while reducing carbon emissions in the country by more than one million tonnes. The project also created 700 jobs during construction, out of which 80 per cent were Togolese.

“This is a very significant moment in our country,” said Mila Aziable, Togolese Minister for Energy and Mines.

“It marks a positive step on our journey towards building an energy system that is inclusive and clean, and that creates jobs and improves access to energy. Renewables can shape an entirely new and positive era in the development of Togo, and we are extremely grateful to all the partners involved in delivering this project."

The plant is part of the fund's partnership with Irena to advance the development of clean energy alternatives around the world. The fund has committed $350m (Dh1.28 billion) for concessionary loans dedicated to clean energy development projects.

Together they have supported the development of 32 clean energy projects in 26 countries, generating a capacity of 245 megawatts to fuel the power generation needs of more than 4.5 million households and businesses.

“This is a highly significant project not just for Togo but for the whole of West Africa,” said Francesco La Camera, director general of Irena.

“Africa holds tremendous promise for renewable power generation, which can bring improved energy access and reliability of supply while creating jobs and economic opportunity.”

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