'Africa's largest' PV plant online

Abu Dhabi-based clean energy group Masdar has switched on what it claims is Africa’s largest operational PV plant in Mauritania.

The 15MW, $32m Sheikh Zayed project is located in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, and will meet about 10% of the West African country’s current electricity load.

Mauritania’s electricity grid, which is currently powered by costly diesel generators, has an installed capacity of just 144MW, resulting in severe energy shortfalls.

With energy demand growing by 12% annually, the Masdar utility-scale PV plant will help meet Mauritania’s future electricity shortages, supplying clean power to about 10,000 households.

“This new solar plant not only provides much needed grid capacity for our people, it also proves that renewable energy can play a major role in the development of our country,” says Mauritania’s president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

With strong solar and wind resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant share of its electricity from sustainable and reliable sources of energy.

According to the UN, the country’s wind energy potential alone is almost four times its annual energy demand.