FMO finalizes construction and operation of four solar plants in Burkina Faso

FMO has announced that the financing and contracting for the construction and operation of four solar plants in Burkina Faso has been finalized. The solar plants will be located near the cities of Nagréongo (near Ouagadougou), Kodeni (near Bobo-Dioulasso), Tenkodogo and Dédougou and together will be able to generate 110 MWp. Three of the four projects have been signed, the signing of the fourth project is underway.

FMO’s financing will consist of four loans, between EUR 14 mln and EUR 34 mln per plant, with a total amount of EUR 90 mln. In addition, co-financiers include The Interact Climate Change Facility (ICCF) with EUR 21 mln, (syndication between Agence Française de Dévelopment-AFD, BIO, DEG, Finnfund, Norfund, OeEB, Proparco, SIFEM and Swedfund) and Proparco with EUR 15 mln. The financing round illustrates the recent Team Europe approach, allowing European member states to better work together to offer collective support to partner countries.

The solar plants are financed under Public-Private Partnership between the government of Burkina Faso and the developers of these projects which are Africa REN, GreenYellow and Qair, through MIHIA Holding (Make It Happen In Africa), a 51%/49% investment vehicle between Qair and Stoa.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 182 out of 189 in the Human Development Index Report 2020. Only 1 in 5 people in Burkina Faso have access to electricity, being 60 percent of the urban population and only 3 percent of the rural population. Until now, 85 percent of the country’s grid is powered by diesel generators, with the fuel imported by road or through electricity imports from neighboring Ghana and Ivory Coast. Such reliance on fossil fuels and electricity imports results in high electricity costs for the country.

The government has high ambitions to substantially increase the electrification and supports the development of endogenous sources of electricity, including solar. The total generation capacity on the grid was 344 MW in 2020, of which 60MW generation. The additional solar power plants, once operational, will increase the generation capacity in Burkina Faso to 456 MW of which 172MW generation. SONABEL is responsible for the bulk of generation and all the transmission and distribution in the Burkina Faso power sector and will also be the off-taker for the electricity generated by the four solar plants.

FMO supports the construction of these four solar plants to increase the electrification in Burkina Faso in a sustainable way, lessening the reliance on fossil fuels. At the same time, creating more access to electricity helps reduce inequalities, allowing, for example, studying at night and longer business hours. These projects rely on many parties being committed to the same impact goal, and we are thankful for their partnerships,’’ said Huib-Jan de Ruijter, Chief Investment Officer of FMO.

Building much-needed projects in Africa requires multiple finance partners working together. With ICCF we have a very efficient channel to achieve this, enabling European development finance institutions to join forces and foster a joint answer to the urgent climate change challenge”, adds Peter Thimme, Chair of ICCF.

Proparco has long been committed to being a core partner of the transition in Africa, having financed many landmark projects on the continent. To further increase its impact in a context of growing urgency, Proparco is happy to join forces with FMO and other committed stakeholders to improve access to clean, in Burkina Faso,’’ added Ariane Ducreux, Head of Proparco’s and Infrastructure Division

The signing of this project with FMO supports our ambitions in Africa, a strategic market where we continue to strengthen our presence in the IPP segment,’’ said Otmane Hajji, President of GreenYellow.

We are delighted to develop additional projects in Burkina Faso, which embody our ambition to become a leader in the country’s transition and, more broadly, in the deployment of in Africa,’’ said Louis Blanchard, President of Qair / MIHIA Holding.

We want to thank FMO for their invaluable support in making Kodeni Solar a reality. This 38MW plant, slated to be the largest in Burkina Faso, is testimony to the tremendous efforts carried out by the government to accelerate the energy transition. Kodeni Solar also marks the start of a more ambitious partnership between FMO, private equity fund Metier Sustainable Capital and Africa REN through Africa REN Energy. This newly set-up investment holding will bring equity financing to Africa REN’s projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, thereby speeding up the supply of clean and affordable energy to millions of people,” added Gilles Parmentier, CEO of Africa REN.

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