Plans to build Liberia’s first ever utility-scale solar farm are progressing thanks to a development loan from REPP to project company, Gigawatt Global.
The West African country currently suffers from one of the lowest electrification rates in the world at 4.9% and has a total installed capacity of just 126MW, which is constricting its prospects of economic growth.
Once built, the 20MW plant in northern Liberia will increase the country’s generation capacity by 15% and improve access to clean energy, as well as provide 20 permanent skilled and semi-skilled jobs for local men and women. It would also mark the country’s first development by an Independent Power Producer (IPP).
Developer Gigawatt Global Liberia Ltd.’s proposed site for the farm lies 18km from the Mount Coffee hydropower dam, which experiences periods of significantly reduced productivity during the dry season due to low water levels. The completed plant would complement the hydropower facility during these months and in doing so displace the need for higher-cost diesel generation that most Liberians rely on for lighting while supplementing the dam’s clean energy production for the rest of the year.
REPP’s loan was approved based on a short, 18-month tenor and is being used to carry out feasibility studies that will enable Gigawatt Global Liberia to better understand the issues that need to be addressed to bring the project on stream.
If the development – which has been openly supported by the Liberian government – proves a success, it will provide a strong demonstration of impact for other clean energy projects regionally and help build the necessary capacity at government level to support the growth of Liberia’s nascent solar sector.
The solar project is the second REPP-supported project by Gigawatt Global, with the other being a 7.5MWp solar facility in Mubuga, Burundi.
Contracted date: 22 November 2018
Lending type: Development loan
REPP funding: Undisclosed
Gigawatt Global is pleased to partner with the UK's REPP to unlock the potential of deeply impactful renewable energy projects where they're needed most. This is especially evident in Liberia which struggles with seasonal hydro levels and reliance on expensive polluting diesel power, thus benefiting greatly from Gigawatt's solar project.- Michael Fichtenberg, Executive VP Finance & Business Development, Gigawatt Global