Congo’s New Solar Project

The current population of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is approximately 86.84 million people. Although the DR Congo is a major oil exporter, only 9 percent of the country has access to electricity. Utilities use hydropower (98%) and fossil fuels (2%) to generate electricity in the country.

DR Congo has no national climate change strategy or policies. However, nonprofit agencies have been active in in the country to develop the administrative structure for environmental protection and natural resources management.

The Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources of Democratic Republic of Congo has recently awarded several major solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to the Hanergy Thin Film Power Group. The solar projects will have a total capacity of 400 MW and will be located in the provinces of Katanga, Lualaba, Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï-Central, Kivu and Sankuru.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, headquartered in Beijing, People’s Republic of China was founded in 1989 by Li Hejun. The company develops solar, wind and hydropower projects. Hanergy is a leading manufacturer in thin-film solar panels.

I am encouraged by DR Congo’s first utility scale solar project. The hydropower, wind and solar potential in the country is significant. In my opinion, renewable energy is the only viable path for the DR Congo to meet their target of 65 percent electrification by 2025.

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