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Benin’s First Solar Power Plant to Increase its Capacity

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The Beninese government has announced to double the capacity of the Illoulofin solar PV plant located in the Plateau Region of the country. Initially planned for a capacity of 25 MWp, the under-construction solar power plant will now have a capacity of 50 MWp.

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The announcement came following the visit of Benin’s Minister of Energy Dona Jean-Claude Houssou to the construction site in the town of Pobè. The construction work is being carried out by French construction company Eiffage’s energy branch Eiffage Énergie Systèmes.

According to Ludovic Duplan, International General Manager of Eiffage Énergie Systèmes’, the construction work of the plant is progressing according to schedule and already 60% of the work has been completed. Most of the power plant’s equipment has been delivered, and the company is now in the assembly and installation phase.

The pilot Illoulofin solar project, named DEFISSOL is being implemented on a 26-hectare site. Eiffage initially planned to set up 47,212 PV modules with the power capacity of 530 Wp each, string inverters, and six 3 MVA power transformation stations. The first phase of the PV power plant under construction will produce 35 GWh of electricity per year, which will meet the electricity needs of nearly 180,000 people.

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The government is financing the Illoulofin solar plant with the financial facility from the European Union (EU) and the public financial institution French Development Agency (AFD). The renewable energy produced will be delivered to the power network of the Beninese Electricity Company (SBEE), supplied from the Pobè source station. 

Effiage affirms that the plant will avoid the emission of 23,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per year, or nearly 575,000 tons over its lifetime, estimated at 25 years. The first phase of the solar power plant is scheduled to be complete in April 2022. The project will allow Benin to reduce its energy bill while enhancing the value of its renewable energies.

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