Solar Is Electrifying Rural Benin

The population of the Republic of Benin is approximately 12.27 million people[1]. In 2018, 41.5% of the people in this West African country had access to electricity[2].

In 2016, Benin signed the Paris Climate Agreement[3], committing to reduce its cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 120 million tons between 2020 and 2030. The emission reductions would include 5 million tons in the energy sector and 115 million tons from lands and forests.

In 2017, Benin signed with the United Nations Development Program’s Project for the Promotion of Sustainable production of biomass electricity in Benin. The program is designed to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, Benin’s economy was ranked 127th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[4]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of cotton, textiles, fruits, nuts, wood, salt, sulfur, cement, and iron.

In 2019, the state-owned electricity utility, Société Beninoise d’Energie Electrique used petroleum (71.4%) and renewable energy (28.6%) to generate electricity[5]. Hydropower is the primary source of renewable energy in Ghana.

Benin’s Minister of Energy, Jean Claude Houssou believes solar power is essential for the country to meet its climate goals. Recent renewable energy projects in Benin include:

  • Solar Tender – In July 2020, the S. Government foreign aid agency, Off-Grid Electricity Access has selected eleven companies to build off-grid solar projects in Benin. The program is designed to provide electricity in the rural regions of the country.
  • 25 MW Solar Project – In November 2020, French engineering company, Eiffage RMT begun work on the Illoulofin solar power plant in Pobè, Benin approximate 35 miles north of the capital, Porto-Novo. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022.

Benin has significant renewable energy resources, which if developed could provide electricity to everyone in the country.

Benin is one of the poorest countries in the world. Substantial international aid will be required if this country is going to provide electricity to all the people in this beautiful west African country.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Benin Population (2020) –  December 26, 2020

[2] Benin – The World Bank Group

[3] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[4] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[5] U.S. Aid – Benin Energy Sector Overview

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