Media & News

Africa REN launches the construction of the largest solar plant in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, October 20, 2021 – Africa REN, a pioneer in clean infrastructures in Africa, announces it has launched the construction of the Kodeni Solar power plant, near Bobo-Dioulasso, in Burkina Faso. With an installed capacity of 38MW, Kodeni Solar will be the largest solar power plant in the country as well as the first public-private partnership to reach financial close. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2022.

Kodeni Solar has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SONABEL, the electricity utility of Burkina Faso, as part of a public-private partnership with the government. The construction was entrusted to French specialist INEO by EQUANS, a company of Engie Group. The project will create 150 direct jobs in the construction phase and 35 permanent jobs in the operation phase.

With an annual production of 73,000 MWh, the Kodeni solar power plant will provide clean, reliable and affordable energy to nearly 115,000 homes. It will also reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and avoid the emission of 41,000 tons of CO2 each year, helping Burkina Faso to further address climate change.

Gilles Parmentier, CEO of Africa REN, said: “We are particularly proud of the step we are taking today. Kodeni Solar will be the largest solar power plant in Burkina Faso to become operational. We would like to extend our special thanks to the Government of Burkina Faso and to the teams at SONABEL for their warm welcome and unwavering support in bringing this project to fruition in a very short timeframe.”

H.E. Dr. Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, Minister of Energy, said, “This is an essential project for the energy autonomy of Burkina Faso. Solar energy is the cheapest and most abundant source of electricity for the country. Kodeni Solar also demonstrates that the framework put in place by the government to encourage public-private partnerships is beginning to bear fruit. More than 500MW of capacity will be added before 2025 at an extremely competitive price, to the benefit of the Burkinabe population and businesses.”

Development of the project was undertaken by Africa REN with the support of the Seed Capital Assistance Facility, an initiative from the United Nations Environment Programme, that co-financed the project development phase. FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, Access to Energy Fund (a fund managed by FMO on behalf of the Dutch government) and the Interact Climate Change Facility (ICCF), a joint facility of European Development Institutions, provided the long-term debt.

Huub Cornelissen, Director Energy at FMO, said: “Kodeni Solar is one of our first investment in Burkina Faso, a country where we feel welcome and where there is tremendous opportunity in the renewables sector. With our partners in the country and in the wider region, we are thrilled to engage in a greener future for the Sahel at a time when such investment is badly needed.”

To support its ambition to develop more clean energy and sustainable infrastructure projects, Africa REN teamed up with Metier Sustainable Capital, a private equity fund focused on clean infrastructure investments across Africa, managed by Metier, and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. Metier and FMO established and funded Africa REN Energy, a newly formed investment holding dedicated to support Africa REN’s projects, as well as the operating entities of the Africa REN Group. Africa REN Energy provided the equity to the project and is now the sole shareholder of Kodeni Solar.

Marc Immerman, a principal at Metier’s Sustainable Capital practice, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Africa Ren management team and FMO in the Africa REN clean energy investment platform. Africa REN have demonstrated a pioneering ability to offer and deliver value-add clean energy projects to West African utilities and corporates. The opportunity to grow a cutting edge West African IPP that is poised to give exceptional returns and positive ESG impacts across the region is exciting.”

Paul Botha, the Metier CEO said, “As a firm Metier is proud of this transaction which further cements our ambition to evolve into a Pan-African private equity firm”. Metier’s Sustainable Capital practice is a clean infrastructure private equity fund manager with a mandate to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and waste opportunities across Africa.