Dubai - Access Infra Africa, a Dubai-based company, will launch what it says will be Africa’s largest privately-owned solar plant in Uganda this year, part of plans to develop electricity projects in 17 African countries, mainly based on renewable energy.
The company will spend $500 million in the next three years on power generation plants, including in Egypt, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique, Reda El Chaar, executive chairman of Access Power MEA, the majority owner of Access Infra Africa, said on Tuesday.
“Solar power is no longer an exotic power solution, it’s becoming a real contender in any (power) generation mix,” Chaar said.
“As far as power technology is concerned, solar power has made the biggest leap in the cost efficiencies in recent years.”
About 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, two thirds of the population, lack access to electricity, an International Energy Agency report estimated last October, predicting its energy demands would increase by 80 per cent by 2040.
The region’s power generation capacity will quadruple, the IEA forecast, with renewable energy accounting for about 45 per cent.
Chaar said that by 2018, the company’s portfolio would generate nearly one gigawatt of electricity, about enough energy for 700,000 homes.
In Uganda, Access Infra Africa’s 10-megawatt solar and wind power station will start generating electricity later this year, the first of its plants to become operational.
“This will be the largest privately-owned solar power plant in Africa,” Chaar said.
Two institutions, FMO, the Netherlands’ development bank and London-based Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, provided debt funding for 70-80 per cent of the project’s costs, with Access Infra Africa committing the remainder in equity. French energy group EREN DÃ©veloppement has a shareholding in Access Infra Africa.
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