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FOLLOW THE SUN

Over a dozen African nations have conducted feasibility studies to set up largescale solar power plants. These include Seychelles, Mozambique, Mauritius, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mauritius, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Mauritania, Sudan, Djibouti, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Morocco, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia, Rwanda, Cameroon and Nigeria. Of these less than 10 have initiated and even launched large-scale solar power plants. These include Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritania and Ethiopia. Africa’s top solar investment destinations remain Morocco, Egypt and South Africa.

350MW

Begun in 2011 NoorOuarzazete introduced 150MW into the Morocco’s grid. The second phase will bring in 350MW online.

150MW

Kuraymat Solar Thermal Power Plant which produces 150MW of power. By 2017 Egypt plans bringing 2GW of solar energy onto the main grid.

500MW

MOROCCO

By 2020 Morocco plans to be producing 2GW of power from solar by pursuing an ambitious $9bn solar power plan, unveiled in 2009, that will see five CSP stations being built. The initial installation is the Noor-Ouarzazate CSP plant, currently under construction. Begun in 2011, it is expected to introduce some 150MW into the national grid (and a second phase 350MW).

The World Bank, through its Clean Technology Fund, had given some $519m for this solar project, also winning support from the AfDB. When complete the complex is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 700,000 tons annually and supply electricity to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018. Ain Bni Mathar, Sebkhat Tar, Boujdour and Al Oued are the four other sites complementing Noor-Ouarzazate.

In total all these sites are expected to bring 2000MW into Morocco’s grid and push solar power to a 14% contribution of Morocco’s electricity capacity by the year 2020. In total 3.7m tons of carbon will have been prevented once these five sites are fully online.

Alongside these five solar power plants is an ongoing initiative aimed at installing some 1.7m sq metres of thermal solar sensors by 2020. Through this thermal solar sensor project Morocco expects to harness 1,190GWh, cutting off 920,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Both projects are designated for CDM registration.

By June last year South Africa had passed 500MW of installed solar power. In 2013, six bidders secured 450MW of solar PV and two CSP projects took 200MW bids.

EGYPT

‘Rush’ is what can be used to describe Egypt’s quest for solar power: A major frenzy as solar firms, financiers, developers and construction conglomerates all flock into Egypt. By 2013 renewable energy capacity in Egypt stood at 1% but by 2017 Egypt plans bringing 2GW of solar energy onto the main grid. Going by the MoUs signed so far, Egypt is likely to hit its target.

In mid-March the consortium of ACWA Power and Masdar signed an agreement with Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) to develop a 1.5GW solar power plant. International Gulf Development and Skypower signed with EEHC for a 2GW solar power plant estimated to cost $3.5bn. Skypower and Terra Sola have also signed a separate $3.5bn deal for the construction of another 2GW power plant.

FAS Energy has also signed a MOU for a 2GW power plant. These are to complement the $123m Kuraymat Solar Thermal Power Plant which produces 150MW of power.

SOUTH AFRICA

By June last year South Africa had passed 500MW of installed solar power. The Department of Energy says that the country has the potential of harnessing 10,000GW through renewable sources. In its 2010-2030 plan, South Africa set a target of harnessing 3,725MW of power from renewable sources. To achieve this target, South Africa adopted an energy auctioning system.

“Renewable energy auctions are an increasingly popular tool for governments to procure renewable electricity at a moderate cost,” the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says.

Through South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, competitive bidding was allowed. In the first 2011 renewable auctioning system, 19 solar PV and two concentrated solar power (CSP) projects were passed.The cumulative power production of the 19 projects was 650MW (the two CSPs to generate 150MW).

December 2015 New African  25

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