Will Solar Solve Senegal’s Power Problem?

The Republic of Senegal currently has an estimated population of 16.47 million people. Only 64.5 percent of the people in the country have access to electricity. The government’s goal is to provide access to electricity to everyone in Senegal by 2025.

The power plants in this west African country use fossil fuel (90%) and renewable energy (10%) to provide electricity in the country. The fossil fuel plants in Senegal primarily use oil distillates (diesel and gasoline) as fuel. Currently, hydropower is the primary source for renewable energy in the country.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels may prove to be a critical component in Senegal providing everyone access to electricity by 2025. ENGIE has recently announced it has signed a 25 year power purchase agreement with Senelec for two solar PV projects in Senegal. ENGIE is a multinational electric utility, headquartered in Courbevoie, France. Senelec is the national electric company of Senegal.

The two solar PV projects will have a total capacity of 60 MW and will be located in Kahone and Kaël Kahone is located approximately 75 miles southeast of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. Kaël is located approximately 100 miles east of Dakar. ENGINE will manage both the construction and operation of each of the two solar PV projects.

Solar PV panels are making dramatic inroads in providing electricity in both urban and rural areas of Africa. Rural villages are bringing in pay for power, rooftop solar PV panels. Larger cities are developing solar PV parks for power. In my opinion, rural and urban solar PV projects will be a key strategy to provide electricity to Senegal and the continent of Africa.

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