First large scale solar plant in Central Africa Republic (CAR) switches on
The plant has an estimated 33,432 solar panels and is expected to meet 30 percent of the city of Bangui’s electricity demand.
Sakaï Solar Power Plant, the first large scale solar power plant in the Central African Republic (CAR) is now operational following the launch of the plant last week. The solar power plant with an installed capacity of 15 MW is located close to Bangui, the country’s capital.
The solar energy facility was built by China Energy Engineering Group’s subsidiary, Tianjin Electric Power Construction CO. Ltd (TEPC). The plant has an estimated 33,432 solar panels and is expected to meet 30 percent of the city of Bangui’s electricity demand. The facility will also help CAR reduce use of diesel for power generation, as well as diversify the country’s electricity generation mix.
“Energy is the basis of everything, because without it we can do nothing. This infrastructure will increase the overall electricity supply in Bangui for the benefit of households, economic development and, in particular, industry,” said Arthur Bertran Piri, the Central African Minister for Energy Development and Water Resources.
Improving energy access in CAR
The CAR has long been plagued by internal conflicts that have really slowed social development, resulting in electricity shortages and frequent blackouts for local populations.
According to official data from the World Bank, only 14.3% of the country’s population has access to electricity, with rates ranging from approximately 35% in Bangui to about 0.4% in rural areas.
The solar energy plant is anticipated to help improve energy access in CAR. The Central African Republic has an abundance of low-cost energy resources, including significant solar potential (5 kWh/m2/day), but these resources remain underdeveloped.