EAIF Loan of EUR 29m to Back Urbasolar Project in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso, March, 16 2021 -
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) will lend EUR 29 million (USD 34.6m) to French company Urbasolar for a 30-MWp solar project in Burkina Faso, it was announced on Monday.
The total cost of the project near the town of Pa is estimated at EUR 35.4 million, with financial close expected in the second quarter of 2021.
Urbasolar, part of Swiss energy trader Axpo Holding AG, is contributing roughly 20% of the project’s capital. It will hold a majority stake in the photovoltaic (PV) park, leaving a smaller stake for Project Production Solaire (PPS) -- renewables and energy efficiency business founded in 2010 by Burkinabe engineers.
Construction of the solar park is expected to take 18 months. Once up and running, it will sell its output to national utility Sonabel and contribute significantly to the greening of the local energy mix. Urbasolar won the project in a tender held by the utility.
Currently, more than 40% of the nearly 20 million people in Burkina Faso live below the poverty line. The rates of electrification are low and the country relies mainly on fossil fuels for power generation and imports. Renewable energy will play an important role in the country’s energy future, with 280 MW of green power plants planned to go live in the next three years.
Urbasolar president Arnaud Mine and its Regional Head for West Africa Emmanuel Kabore noted that the project in Pa will also involve the provision of study grants, a microfinancing programme for local women, some training in the field of solar technology and support for the healthcare system. Once built, the plant will join a solar fleet of more than 900 MW, operated by the French company.