The renewable energy potential in Sierra Leone is abundant, primarily in hydropower, wind and solar resources. However, it remains underutilised while up to 80 per cent of the country's electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
Driving a diversified approach to addressing energy access in the country, Planet Solar will be the first large-scale grid-connected solar Independent Power Producer (IPP). The 50MW solar capacity is expected to help avoid 53,000 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.
Currently only 23 per cent of the population in Sierra Leone have access to electricity. This project will increase the operational domestic electricity supply by c. 30 per cent in Sierra Leone, channelling it to commercial and industrial entities, public institutions, and households connected to the main energy- grid. This enables more power to flow to industries and communities in Freetown, Sierra Leone's commercial capital, the Western Area, and beyond including four sites throughout the country.
Commenting on the transaction, Chris Chijiutomi, Managing Director and Head of Africa at BII, said: "We are delighted to help bring clean and reliable energy to underserved regions in Sierra Leone. Our investment in Planet Solar highlights our commitment to climate finance and accelerating progress towards net-zero emissions by 2050. We look forward to the transformational potential of this project as a beacon to unlock more long-term capital to advance the country’s energy sector and support a more sustainable future.”
“Access to energy is a key enabler and driver of inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic recovery and growth. We are therefore thrilled to support Planet Solar, the first large-scale grid-connected solar Independent Power Producer in Sierra Leone. We thank our co-investors and Planet Solar for the cooperation, supporting vital services to households and businesses in the country,” says Jaap Reinking, head of the Private Equity department at FMO.
“We are thrilled to announce our support to Planet Solar, as this transaction is fully in line with our climate change mitigation strategy in Africa. This is Proparco's first investment in Sierra Leone. We are all the more proud since Planet Solar's projects are expected to increase the country's installed electricity capacity by 30% thereby underpinning Sierra Leone's development of electrical infrastructure,” added Tibor Asboth, Deputy Head of Private Equity Africa & Middle East division at Proparco.
Commenting on the transaction, Lars Tejlgaard Jensen, Investment Director and Partner, Frontier Energy stated: “The 50 MW solar project in Sierra Leone stands as a testament to the project development and delivery capabilities of Frontier and Planet One. Despite challenging conditions, we have delivered on our joint commitment to provide stable, clean and reasonably priced power. The project will benefit urban & rural consumers as well as commercial & industrial entities, thereby fostering robust growth in economic activities across several regions. We thank H.E the President, Hon. Minister of Energy, various stakeholders in Sierra Leone, and our co-financiers, FMO, BII and Proparco for their support to this project of national & regional significance.”
Sierra Leone is one of the priority countries of the Africa Resilience Investment Accelerator initiative co-led by BII and FMO, with Proparco and other DFIs as members. The initiative aims to unlock investment opportunities and mobilise commercial capital in frontier markets in Africa.
The commitment contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and Climate Action (SDG 13).