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The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, today inaugurated the Senergy solar power plant in Santhiou Mékhé. 80% of funding was provided by Proparco and this facility – one of the largest in Western Africa – represents a milestone in Senegal’s rapid transition to renewable forms of energy.

The 92,000 solar modules with a total capacity of 30 Megawatts (MW) will generate enough electricity to meet the annual consumption requirements of 200,000 people at a much lower cost than the country’s existing thermal power stations. This clean energy will also cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tonnes of CO².

A renewed commitment

This project has been backed by the French infrastructure fund Meridiam, the Senegalese sovereign fund Fonsis and the Senegalese corporation Senergy SUARL, as well as by a €34.5 million loan granted by Proparco in May 2016. It was built by Solairedirect which is part of the Engie Group.

It is the fruit of effective cooperation between French and Senegalese stakeholders committed to developing renewable energy. Thanks to the experience gained from this first project, Proparco and Meridiam committed to building another solar power plant with an equivalent capacity in Merina Dakhar in December 2016.

Both the Santhiou Mékhé and Merina Dakhar plants are part of the Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE) programme designed to enable the country to reach the target of 20% of renewable energy in its total energy mix by end-2017 and meet Senegal’s commitments under COP21.

A big focus on local development

The local population has been fully integrated into the project (and its objectives) through the organisation of public consensus-building meetings, and into project implementation via the recruitment of local labour, the use of local building firms, assistance provided to local farmers and the construction of a fully-equipped maternity hospital.