Solenova, a joint venture between Italian energy company Eni, and Angola state-owned energy company Sonangol, has launched the first phase of the 50 MW Caraculo solar power plant located in Angola’s Namibe province. The project is Angola’s first utility scale photovoltaic power plant.
The unveiling ceremony was presided over by Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo, and the country’s Minister of Energy and Water, João Baptista Borges.
Construction of the solar energy facility began last year in June, and the project is being built on a public-private partnership basis. The first phase of the project included the installation of 46,000 solar panels, with a power output of 25 megawatts (MW), on 33 hectares of land.
The electricity generated by the Caraculo solar power plant will be dispatched to the country’s southern territory grid. The facility will help diversify the country’s energy mix, and offset about 50 KtCO2eq of GHG emissions per year.
Project to help diversify the energy mix in Angola
“This project symbolises a new stage in the use of new sources of renewable energy. We are going to have cheaper electricity, an abundant and regular energy source throughout the year and, therefore, significant savings in the fuel we use to produce energy,” said João Baptista Borges, Angola’s Minister of Energy and Water.
João Baptista Borges highlighted that around 140 million litres of diesel were used to supply the two main cities of the southern region, Lubango and Moçâmedes each year. He noted that with the Caraculo power plant, there would be a saving of around 18 million litres per year. “This is significant,” the minister said, insisting that the aim is to provide the population with cheaper energy.
According to Eni and Sonangol, the project falls in line with the government’s “Angola Energy 2025”, the country’s long term plan for the energy sector, whose main goal is to provide access to basic energy services to the population.
Furthermore, Eni and Sonangol intend to collaborate further in new project developments following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week where they will jointly identify and assess opportunities for collaboration in the areas of Energy transition, including agro-industrial supply chains for the production of low carbon fuels, valorization of residual biomass and green ammonia for agro-industrial applications.