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The Government of Senegal recently inaugurated the Diass solar power station in a rural community in the Thies region. Located 54 km from the capital city Dakar, the 23 MWp solar power plant is constructed and operated by Senegal’s national power utility SENELEC.
The solar power plant is built at a cost of 13 billion CFA Francs (21.4 million dollars). The German development agency, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) loaned a major portion of the cost to Senegal. The plant inauguration ceremony was attended by Senegalese President Macky Sall, along with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The Diass solar power plant is equipped with 85,248 poly-crystalline photovoltaic modules installed on 40 hectares of land. The facility also contains a network of several inverters and transformers. The output of the solar farm is connected to SENELEC’s power grid from the Kael substation.
According to the plant authorities, the solar farm is capable of supplying clean electricity to 33,000 Senegalese households. SENELEC is expected to save nearly 1.7 billion CFA francs (~2.77 million dollars) annually, reducing its dependency on diesel and thermal power plants.
“This project is part of the electricity mix advocated by the State of Senegal and contributes to increasing the share of renewable energy on the SENELEC network and significantly to the supply/demand balance,” the state-owned public utility said.
Senegal has a total installed capacity of 1,555 MW, according to Power Africa’s data. Although the energy mix of this West African country is still largely dominated by non-renewable fossil fuels, it has made significant progress in terms of renewable energy development in recent years.