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The Beninese government has recently inaugurated the first phase of the Illoulofin solar power plant located near the commune of Pobè, Plateau department. The construction work for the planned 50 MWp solar farm was started in August last year.
The construction work of the solar plant was carried out by French group Eiffage’s energy branch, Eiffage Énergie Systèmes. The first phase of the solar power plant has a capacity of 25 MWp whereas the next phase of the plant is expected to be commissioned in 2025.
The Illoulofin solar plant required an investment of 39.7 billion CFA francs (€60.5 million). The financing was provided by the Government of Benin through loans from the European Union and the French Development Agency (AFD).
The project is the first large-scale solar power plant in Benin. The inauguration ceremony was attended by officials from Electricity Regulatory Authority (ARE) and French Embassy in Benin, and was presided over by Dona Jean-Claude Houssou, the Beninese Minister of Energy,
The newly launched solar farm is equipped with 47,212 solar modules, 113 inverters, and 6 transformer stations of 3,515 kVA each. The facility is also aided by a computer-assisted monitoring system, power plant automatic control, and anti-intrusion security.
The electricity produced is evacuated through two 20 kV medium voltage transmission lines over a distance of nearly 3 km and is injected into Société béninoise d’énergie électrique’s (SBEE) network via the Onigbolo substation.
According to the Beninese government, the Illoulofin solar PV plant is capable of supplying clean electricity to 40,000 households. The first phase of the solar plant is capable of generating 35 GWh of energy per year. Eiffage said that the solar plant will help in avoiding annual emissions of 23,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, or 575,000 tons over its estimated 25-year life.
The Illoulofin solar project is part of the modernization of SBEE’ss information system named DEFISSOL which aims to contribute to Benin’s economic growth by improving its performance and providing quality electricity service while respecting the environment.