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Niger’s Gorou Banda Solar Park Powers Up Four Months After Coup d’État

By Faridat Salifu

In a resilient response to political upheaval, Niger’s Gorou Banda solar park has come online four months after the coup d’état, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s pursuit of sustainable energy solutions.

The announcement of the operational 30 MW photovoltaic solar power plant near Niamey, the capital of Niger, was made by the Minister of Energy, Mahaman Moustapha Barké, on national television recently.

This achievement, led by the Nigerien Electricity Company (Nigelec), follows a period of political instability that initially delayed the commissioning of the project.

Minister Barké underscored the positive impact of the solar plant, particularly in alleviating prolonged power outages experienced in the country. With Niamey’s population of 1.5 million reaping the benefits of improved electricity, the plant is poised to significantly enhance power supply in the Dosso and Tillabéri regions.

A notable visit by the Minister of Petroleum, Mines, and Energy followed the successful commissioning, affirming the government’s commitment to advancing the country’s energy infrastructure.

The Gorou Banda 30 MWc solar power plant, now the largest solar park in Niger, boasts 55,608 solar panels, each generating 540 W of power.

The project, requiring a total investment of 30 million euros, received contributions from the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union (EU), and the Nigerien government, demonstrating international collaboration in fostering sustainable energy development.

The political turmoil resulting from the coup d’état on July 26, 2023, significantly impacted the project’s timeline. Departure of technical staff from the country during the transitional period disrupted the initial operation schedule.

However, the dedication of remaining technicians in Niamey ensured the successful commencement of operations.

Niger faced electricity supply challenges even before the coup, with frequent power outages in Niamey despite the expansion of thermal power production capacity in 2017.

The country’s electrification rate stood at 15.72% in 2020, with notable disparities between urban and rural areas, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS) of Niger.

The sudden halt in electricity supply from neighboring Nigeria, which typically provided 70% of Nigelec’s electricity, further exacerbated the already precarious situation due to sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following the political unrest.

In overcoming these challenges, the Gorou Banda solar park stands as a beacon of progress, illuminating Niger’s path toward a more sustainable and resilient energy future.



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