Togo inaugurated on Tuesday Africa’s largest solar power facility in West Africa, located about 250 kilometers north of the country’s capital, Lomé.
This 50-megawatt plant, located in central Togo, will supply electricity to more than 158,000 houses while also reducing CO2 emissions by more than one million tonnes.
Built by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of Dubai-based AMEA Power, the project produces electricity for the country. Dedicated to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the project has received more than 35 billion CFA francs ($63.7 million) in financing from the West African Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, among other sources, according to AFP.
“The Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed 50 megawatt-peak power plant in Blitta is the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the sub-region, using solar tracker technology, which increases the efficiency of solar panels by making them follow the path of the sun,” Togolese mines minister Mila Aziable explained during the opening ceremony.
Despite receiving positive feedback, Togo’s government was attacked by many young Africans on social media for not purchasing solar panels from neighboring nation Ghana, which has a solar manufacturing company of its own.
According to the World Bank, more than half of Togo’s energy is imported from Nigeria and Ghana, and the country is relying on solar energy to expand access to electricity for its eight million people.
“This initiative is the result of our desire to provide universal access to power and to offer everyone with clean and renewable energy,” Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé said on social media. “I am delighted it was completed in such a short period of time” (18 months), he said.
With the launch of this platform, the West African nation has taken another step forward in its efforts to expand access to power and develop renewable energy sources.
Officials anticipate that the 127,344 solar panels will generate 90.255 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year by the end of the year, as planned.
Construction of an additional 20 MW capacity will be added to the existing plant before the end of the year.