Government of Sierra Leone announces official ground breaking of a 6MW solar plant in Freetown, the winning project of an IRENA/ADFD financing program.

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The 6MW solar project in Freetown has been on hold since summer 2014, when the government of Sierra Leone first announced its plan to build an $18 million PV park in the capital. Today, the government confirmed that the work continues and the official ground breaking ceremony took place in Freetown on March 9.

The PV project in Sierra Leone received part funding of $9 million from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), which has partnered with International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to support clean power generation in Africa.

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To date, Sierra Leone has made a number of steps to commence the implementation of the project. They include ratification of the ADFD loan by the government, establishment of a working Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the re-appointment of the UAE-based Advanced Science and Innovation Company (ASIC) LLC as project manager and EPC.

According to the announcement, the project team has prepared a step-by-step plan for the ‘on the ground’ work, which includes selection and sourcing of local contractors and setting up of a project camp for the workforce. To be able to successfully connect the plant to the main power grid, developers are planning to construct a 161KV transmission line.

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Relatively small on a global scale, a 6 MW solar park in Freetown is a significant landmark in the development of the solar PV sector in West Africa. “This important project will place Sierra Leone on the global map of sustainable Renewable Energy and provide valuable knowledge transfer and necessary supporting infrastructure,” Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone Henry Macauley said in the announcement.

Earlier this year IRENA and ADFD announced a loan package of $43 million for clean energy projects in Antigua and Barbuda ($15 million for 4 MW wind and solar project), Burkina Faso ($10 million for 3.6 MW PV mini-grid), Cape Verde ($8 million for 2 MW solar PV and wind hybrid) and Senegal ($13 million for 2 MW PV mini-grid).