CrossBoundary Energy signs partner to advance solar power production in Senegal

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Eramet Group’s subsidiary Grande Côte Opérations (GCO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CrossBoundary Energy for the construction of a 13 MW hybrid solar power station with 8 MW battery storage in Senegal.

This comes at a time when Senegal is emphasizing the role renewable will play in the country and has set up ambitious targets to reach universal access to electricity by 2025, achieve 200GWh of hydro power production, and have renewable make up 30 percent of the power mix by 2025.

In a statement, CrossBoundary said the solar power station is dedicated to the Diogo industrial site (north-western Senegal) for the production of mineral sands, and is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2023.

Its renewable energy is expected to help improve GCO’s carbon footprint and reinforce its ISO 50001 approach.

“This is a first that reinforces the company’s commitment to the climate, in line with that of the Eramet Group, which has set itself the objective (Science Based Targets – SBT) of reducing the CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) of its activities by 40 percent by 2035 (based on 2019),” the company said in the statement.

CrossBoundary Energy will design, build and operate the plant, which will generate all the renewable energy for GCO through a 15-year distribution contract.

Guillaume Kurek, CEO of Grande Côte Operations, said the clean, renewable and available energy from the hybrid plant will contribute to GCO’s environmental and economic performance.

“The environmental value of the titanium and zircon raw materials that GCO produces will be positively impacted. This concrete commitment to low-carbon energy reflects the values and ambition of the GCO and Eramet Group teams to provide solutions to the vital climate challenge and to the living well together”.

Its renewable energy is expected to help improve GCO’s carbon footprint and reinforce its ISO 50001 approach/ FILE

Matthew Fredericks, Director of Business Development for Mining, CrossBoundary Energy, said in part, “CrossBoundary Energy’s flexible, fast, all-equity funded approach and implementation partner juwi’s international track record in hybrid power system construction for mines are the ideal combination to deliver this complex project. We look forward to getting to work alongside GCO’s team on the next phase.”

CrossBoundary Energy already has solar plants for businesses installed in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda, and has a pipeline of over 300MW of projects across Africa.

African businesses negatively impacted by inaccurate solar production estimates

The report comes at a time when Senegal is making moves to exploit its significant renewable energy resources.

Last week, the country said through the country’s Taiba N’diaye wind power project, it was stimulating green investment, accelerating regional electrification, and creating a domino effect of renewable energy developments across the Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry (MSGBC) region.

The signing of the MoU also comes against the backdrop of a warning by CrossBoundary that current methods that the solar industry is using to estimate solar production across the continent are unreliable.

In its Measuring Solar Irradiation in Africa: A case for change, the organization revealed that biases in the estimation of solar production in Africa can lead to up to a 20 percent reduction in savings for African businesses.

The report added that such biases also cause between a 1 and 2 percent reduction in the internal rate of return for solar developers and investors.

Lenny Matei, co-author and Senior Project Engineer at CrossBoundary Energy, said that for most commercial and industrial (C&I) clients, a major factor in awarding projects is the electricity tariff and resulting savings offered.

He added that an often-overlooked factor is the estimated solar irradiation on site – which can have a significant impact on forecasted production and, thus, expected savings.

The report also found that sites outside of major cities experience even higher biases.

Due to variable microclimates created by diverse topography, satellite solar irradiation estimates for sites nestled in highlands, valleys, or next to lakes can be biased by up to 20 percent.

The findings are in line with kWh Analytics’ inaugural 2020 Solar Generation Index Report, which found that that 25 percent of U.S. solar projects surveyed missed their 3-year forecasted production targets by over 10 percent.

The American solar risk management firm attributed this result in part to over reliance on biased satellite data for production estimates.

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Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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