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Burkina Faso, Windiga Zina Solar IPP

Supporting advisory work to progress a pioneering solar power project

windiga solar

Context
Burkina Faso's economic growth has slowed following socio-political instability and the impact of fluctuating rainfall and falling global commodity prices on its main exports, cotton and gold. Following democratic elections in 2015, the new administration is committed to addressing the country's high levels of poverty. However, Burkina Faso has an electrification rate of just 17%, restricting the growth of businesses and impacting upon domestic living standards. Recognising the country's energy shortfall and dependence upon fossil fuel imports, the Government of Burkina Faso is exploring options for the development of the country's significant solar power potential.

Project
EAIF approached TAF for additional funding to progress the Windiga Zina Solar IPP project, a 26.6MWp solar plant in western Burkina Faso. Sponsored by Windiga Energy, a Canadian private-sector renewable energy developer, the project will be developed as a public-private partnership and is expected to attract significant regional private sector investment. Earlier support from TAF enabled the project to finance key advisory work to establish the bankability of Burkina Faso's first private sector infrastructure operation and one of the first solar IPP's to be developed in West Africa. A further TAF grant of US$275,000 was required to finance critical legal and advisory services necessary for the project to achieve financial close. TAF funding will be used to develop and translate key documentation and carry out vital auditing of the project's financial model and developers' costs. Technical assistance grant funding for the final stage of due diligence work will keep electricity tariffs down for the government-owned utility, SONABEL. Financial close is expected in 2017.

Impact
Windiga's solar power will be significantly cheaper than electricity from existing heavy fuel oil fired plants, it is anticipated that this will stabilise the Burkinabe power sector. Delivering additional power to Burkina Faso's national grid will improve access to electricity for homes and businesses whilst reducing dependence on thermal plants and fossil fuel imports. Crucially, TAF's funding will enable the project to progress to financial close and construction whilst keeping tariffs affordable for consumers. By pioneering the development of the region's abundant solar potential, Windiga Zina IPP is expected to have a demonstration effect, incentivising domestic and international investors to support future solar power initiatives in West Africa.