The Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex, one of the largest solar PV plant in West Africa financed by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and selected under ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, is now fully operational. The 50-megawatt (MW) project in Blitta, Togo will supply reliable, clean electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the country to receive a sustainable supply of clean energy.

The new Blitta solar PV plant was inaugurated yesterday at a celebration marking the official opening of the facility located on a 92-hectare site in the Centrales region of Togo. The inauguration was attended by Togo President His Excellency Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma, ADFD Deputy Director General His Excellency Khalifa Abdullah Al Qubaisi, H.E Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of Board of Directors of AMEA Power Company and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Acting-Director of Project Facilitation Ahmed Badr and senior officials from the Togolese government.

The new plant has the capacity to produce 50 megawatts of clean energy and will power more than 158,000 homes and small businesses, significantly reducing dependence on firewood and charcoal for energy consumption.

It will help advance the Togolese national clean energy strategy and its aspiration to increase its renewable energy share by 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2030 while reducing CO2 emissions in the country by more than one million tons. The project created 700 jobs during construction, out of which 80% were Togolese.

ADFD, the economic development arm of the UAE Government, provided US$15million (AED55million) to finance the project. The Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar Complex was developed by Amea Togo Solar, a subsidiary of Amea Power, a global renewable energy developer based in the UAE.

The Togo solar power plant is part of ADFD’s partnership with IRENA to advance development of clean energy alternatives while stimulating sustainable economic growth in developing countries around the world. ADFD has committed US$350 million (AED 1.28 billion) for concessionary loans dedicated to clean energy development projects. Together ADFD and IRENA have supported the development of 32 clean energy projects in 26 countries, generating capacity of 245 megawatts to fuel the power generation needs of more than 4.5 million households and businesses.

His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “We are proud to have this state-of-the-art facility carry the name Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar Complex. This solar park truly reflects the level of sustainable impact we can achieve through the ADFD and IRENA renewable energy development program. This new solar plant will greatly advance the Togolese commitment to combat climate change through a shift to clean energy while creating new jobs, supporting the local business community and expanding community access to social services.”

“Renewables are at the heart of our national energy goals and are a vital component of our broader social development and economic growth ambitions,” said Mila Aziablé, Minister Delegate to the President of the Togolese Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines. “This is a very significant moment our country. It marks a positive step on our journey towards building an energy system that is inclusive and clean, and that creates jobs and improves access to energy. Renewables can shape an entirely new and positive era in the development of Togo, and we are extremely grateful to all the partners involved in delivering this project.” 

His Excellency HE Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amea Power, said: “The UAE’s private sector is keeping pace with the government direction to increase adoption of renewable energy globally and advancing the UAE’s pioneering role in the development of sustainable clean energy solutions around the world. We are helping fulfill the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed to diversify energy sources while increasing reliance on renewables, thus ensuring the progress of future generations and contributing to the economic growth of developing nations.”

“This is a highly significant project not just for Togo but for the whole of West Africa,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “It’s scale and speed of development shows what can be achieved in the region when the right blend of partners come together with purpose and intent. Africa holds tremendous promise for renewable power generation, which can bring improved energy access and reliability of supply, while creating jobs and economic opportunity. This is a proud moment for the IRENA-ADFD Project Facility, for all who have contributed to it, and for the people of Togo.”

This is Togo’s first solar plant and a key element of the country’s bid to achieve energy independence by 2030 while delivering on its pledge to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With a population of some 8.2 million people, Togo has traditionally relied on biomass as the dominant source of energy, which is a major contributor to fossil fuel pollution. National production capacity was insufficient to cover demand, leaving Togo reliant on expensive energy imports from countries including Ghana and Nigeria.

With the new solar plant now feeding power to the grid, Togo expects to significantly cut fossil energy consumption as well as energy imports. Expanding and diversifying the country’s energy resources is also expected to boost the connection rate of local households while enabling neighboring communities to improve access to services such as public sanitation, education, and healthcare.

The project is just one example of ADFD and IRENA’s support for the development of Africa’s renewable energy sector. In 2020, ADFD signed loan agreements worth US$33million (AED121million) with the governments of Togo, Niger and Liberia on the sidelines of the IRENA Assembly held in Abu Dhabi. ADFD/IRENA projects span Asia, Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States, encompassing the complete spectrum of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass – and technologies.