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West Africa's biggest solar farm launched in Burkina Faso
December 14, 2017, 2:50 pm

Burkina Faso launched the biggest solar farm in West Africa last week with an event presided over by the country’s President Roch Marc Kabore and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

The 33-megawatt solar plant, located in the town of Zatubi, outside the capital Ouagadougou and built at a cost of $56.7 million, is expected to power tens of thousands of households in the country. Covering an area of 55-hectare, the solar farm was funded through contributions from the European Union and a loan from AFD, the French development agency.

Records indicate that only about 20 percent of Burkina Faso’s 17 million population have access to the national power system. With the majority of people still relying on other unsustainable power generation options, Burkina Faso is eager to widen its national electricity grid. The country now plans on meeting 30 percent of its power needs from solar energy by 2030.

Given the abundance of solar radiance in the region, many African countries that have traditionally depended on hydroelectric and thermal energy are now shifting to solar energy.

Meanwhile, South Africa continues to hold the record for the largest solar farm on the continent with the 175MWSolar Capital De Aar, located in the country’s Northern Cape region. Spread over an area of 473 hectares, the mega solar plant inaugurated in 2016 at a cost of over $315 million is capable of providing power to nearly 75,000 homes.

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