Ambatolampy solar PV plant. Image: GreenYellow

Jirama, state utility in Madagascar, has announced plans to extend the capacity of the Ambatolampy solar PV power plant and add battery storage.

The first utility scale solar power plant in the country, the Ambatolampy power plant was built by Green Yellow Madagascar and commissioned in 2018 as a 20MWp plant. GY Madagascar will begin work on the second phase to extend the plant to 40MWp with 5MWh of battery storage in June 2021. Commissioning is expected by the end of 2021.

GY Madagascar shareholders Axian Group and Green Yellow have provided the $20,33 million financing for the project extension.

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The first phase of the development was funded by finance partners Société Générale, GuarantCo (the guarantee division of the Private Infrastructure Development Group and the Africa Guarantee Fund), alongside the Banque Malgache de L’ocean Indien and BNI Madagascar.

Hassanein Hiridjee, Axian Group CEO pointed out the expansion of the Ambatolampy power plant is in line with their objective to increase access to energy to the Malagasy people by means of clean, sustainable and affordable energy. “It is our pride to be able to implement this project in an extremely short timeframe, given the current … constraints we are experiencing for about a year. It was a real challenge.”  

Power Africa judges the island nation’s current energy access rate to be around 25%. It says the country has an installed capacity of 969MW, of which only 2% is made up of solar energy, though the country does have excellent potential to use more solar power.

Otmane Hajji, GreenYellow Madagascar CEO said the project extends their presence in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean, where they are already the leading producer of photovoltaic energy. “The expansion of the Ambatolampy power plant will allow GreenYellow and Axian to deepen their collaboration and finance the development of future renewable energy projects in Madagascar.”

Originally published by Theresa Smith on esi-africa.com