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The World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme, designed to help remove obstacles to developing large-scale solar power in developing countries, has set a new benchmark in Senegal resulting in two bids that will produce electricity for under $5 cents per kilowatt hour.

The deal will provide one of the cheapest sources of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

This success follows the first Scaling Solar auction in Zambia, which had delivered a ground-breaking $6.015 cent tariff, the lowest tariff in Sub-Saharan Africa at the time.

Last week, Senegal’s Electricity Sector Regulatory Commission (CRSE) announced the winner of the programme’s competitive auction to develop two utility-scale solar plants with a total capacity of 60MWac.

ENGIE/MERIDIAM was awarded both projects with bids to produce solar power at just €3.80 cents ($4.70) per kilowatt hour for the solar plant located in Kahone and €3.98 cents ($4.90) per kilowatt hour for the solar plant located in Touba.

Once the plants are built, this will constitute Senegal’s cheapest utility energy source, helping the government meet the objectives of the Plan Senegal Emergent by drawing on an abundant renewable resource.

Senegal scaling solar

Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s CEO said: “In Senegal, Scaling Solar once again demonstrates that this innovative approach brings together the IFC and the World Bank, investors, and governments in a transparent, streamlined, and competitive process. The result is great deals for consumers.”

“Scaling Solar is the poster child for creating markets for clean and affordable energy for Africa,” Le Houérou added.

The World Bank Group designed and helped CRSE run the tender, which led to 14 bids for the two projects from eight bidders.

Scaling Solar is now developing over 1GW of solar power in partnership with four African countries – Zambia, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal.

In addition, the programme is expanding to new regions with countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East in discussions to join Scaling Solar.

African Utility Week