Masdar, an Abu Dhabi energy company, announced last week it had opened a solar photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 15 megawatts in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

At a cost of $32 million, the solar power plant ‘Sheikh Zayed’ located in Nouakchott is considered the largest in Africa. This new facility will provide approximately 10% of the energy capacity of Mauritania and should avoid carbon of about 21,225 tons of dioxide annually.

The grid of Mauritania remains largely powered by diesel generators, currently has a capacity of 144 megawatts only what is reflected daily in severe power shortages.

While demand in the country of 3.3 million people annually increases by about 12%, the contribution of solar energy should help reduce shortages and power nearly 10,000 households with electricity. The center includes nearly 30,000 solar panels in thin layers. It was built with innovative and sustainable construction practices. Indeed, the project engineers have designed the support structure for the modules so that it is located on the ground instead of using a concrete foundation.

“Access to energy is a springboard for economic and social opportunities(…) The electrification through sustainable energy sources is crucial to ensure our people access to basic services. It is also a step to improve our infrastructure and economic development in the long term,” said on the occasion, the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

He added, “This new solar plant will not only provide the only electricity network much needed our people, but it also shows that solar energy has a role to play in the development of our country.”

With its abundant resources in terms of solar and wind energy, Mauritania has the potential to generate a significant portion of its electrical capacity from sustainable and reliable energy sources.

“Renewable energy can become a major driver in the energy mix in developing countries where access to conventional sources of energy is limited. While demand in terms of energy is expected to double by 2030, renewable energy will play a more important role as “insisted CEO of Masdar, Dr. Al Jaber.

The company says Abu Dhabi will continue to invest in other projects related to renewable energy. She cites other examples, such as this project in the Seychelles which includes a wind farm with a capacity of 6 megawatts, or a photovoltaic project in Afghanistan should provide off-grid solar power to 600 households and a solar photovoltaic power plant of 500 kilowatts on the island of Vava’u in Tonga.

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