Africa Development Bank plans 10GW of solar across the Sahel by 2020

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The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is planning huge developments in grid-connected and off-grid solar to support countries in electrification and mitigating climate change across the Sahel region by 2020.

As well as offering to support African countries insuring themselves against weather disasters, the bank will use its Desert to Power initiative to help develop 10GW of solar power projects across the Sahel region. This is expected to supply power to 250 million people, with 90 million of these provided through off-grid systems. Another aim is to reduce trees being cut down for fuel by energy-poor households.

The bank has already financed development of a 50MW solar power system in Burkina Faso. As part of that financing, the AfDB is also supporting the North Dorsal electrification project, which will connect Burkina Faso with Nigeria, Nigeria and Benin.

Without offering more detail, a release from the bank said that it expects its Sahel projects to become the ‘largest solar power system zone in the world’ once completed.

“The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The share of renewable energy in the Bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became president in 2015 to 100% last year,” president Akinwumi Adesina said. “Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And, with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”