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USTDA Supports Renewable Energy To Supplement Baseload Generation In Sierra Leone

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(USTDA)  Feasibility study facilitates implementation of solar and hybrid power plants in second-largest city

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Solar Era Holdings (SL) Limited, a Sierra Leonean power producer, to support the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a PV-thermal hybrid project near Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone. The new plants will support more dependable power generation and improve energy access in the country, where only 13 percent of the population currently has access.

The two-phase project will include a 5 MW PV plant and a PV-diesel hybrid facility of at least 20 MW. This hybrid option will address problems with intermittency and stability, bringing new power online to better manage electricity demand.

“The United States is proud to help bring new renewable energy to Sierra Leone,” said U.S. Ambassador John Hoover, who signed the grant agreement along with Albert Smith from Solar Era. “By delivering reliable power, this project helps to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth for all Sierra Leoneans.”

“Solar Era is grateful for the support of USTDA, which comes at a critical moment,” said Mr. Smith. “By delivering power in Baoma Chiefdom to the Bo-Kenema transmission line, this project will play a key role in the economic development of the region.”

Sierra Leonean Minister of Energy Henry Macauley witnessed the signing and expressed his support for the project. He noted, “We are proud to embark on such a renewable energy project, which will help us as a country exit from the statistics of 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without electricity.”

Solar Era has selected Power Engineers Incorporated (Hailey, Idaho), an engineering consulting firm specializing in power generation and transmission, to conduct the feasibility study. Power Engineers will provide the information and analysis necessary to support Solar Era’s efforts to implement the project on a commercially viable and sustainable basis. This project advances the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.